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20 Sacred Tobacco 

Ho-Chunk Nation tribal 
leaders say the confiscation 
of their warriors' religious 
pouches violates federal law. 

By Philip M. Callaghan Valerie Tobias 

The Different Student 

Now in its sophomore year, 
the Post-9/11 Gl Bill 
generation grapples with 
campus life and combat 

mentality. ByAndyRomey 

Let Freedom Roar 

This month's World Series of 
Asphalt Stock Car Racing 
kicks off the 2011 season for 
Team Johnson Motorsports. 

By James V. Carroll 

My War on Two Fronts 

A black Navy Seabee recalls 
his battles with the 
Japanese - and Jim Crow. 

By Joseph Conklin LaNierll 

Joint Operations 

As drug traffickers try to 
turn America's forests into 
pot plantations, the 
tional Guard is fighting 

k. ByKenOlsen 


February 2011 • Vol. 170, No. 2 


This month marks the 40th anniversary of the 
Apollo 14 mission, commanded by Alan Shepard, 
the first American in space and the fifth man to 
walk on the moon. There, he famously used a 
lunar sample scoop handle, with a 6-iron head 
attached, to hit a golf ball. A Navy veteran, he 
belonged to American Legion Post 9 in Derry, N.H. 

NASA/Edgar D.Mitchell 







The American Legion Magazine, a leader among national general-interest publications, is published monthly by The American Legion for its 2.5 million members. 
These wartime veterans, working through 14,000 community-level posts, dedicate themselves to God and Country and traditional American values; strong national security; 
adequate and compassionate care for veterans, their widows and orphans; community service; and the wholesome development of our nation's youth. 

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'The Federal Hiring Gauntlet' 

Thank you for the informative article by Ken 
Olsen (December). I am somewhat relieved to 
discover that I am not the only veteran frustrated 
in seeking federal employment. I left active duty 
in 2006 after 13 years (including a tour of duty in 
Iraq), and went to work as an information analyst 
for a contractor at the Department of Defense. In 
late 2009, DoD began to hire many contractors 
over to federal employment. None of them are 
veterans. I once heard a government co-worker in 
an adjoining cubicle explaining to another the 
process that one supervisor used to get around the 
veterans- preference criteria and hire his friends 
instead. Veterans preference in the federal-hiring 
process is a sad joke. 

-Jerry Thomas, Gadsden, Ala, 

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I served in the Army National 
Guard from 2007 to 2010, and 
was deployed in support of 
Operation Iraqi Freedom in 
2008. I truly thought there was 
something wrong with me 
when I couldn't find a job. Since 
coming home, I have been on 
unemployment once and am 
about to go on it a second time. 
I have a master's degree, many 
skills and two certificates from 
the Army. I am also bilingual. I 
cannot believe that I don't even 
qualify for a job at the local 
car-rental company. I have tried 
to apply for jobs on USAJobs. 
gov. It takes one full work day 
to apply on that site, and then 
you don't even know if you've 
done it properly. 

As much as I try to put the 
thought out of my head, I find 
myself asking, "This is what I 
gave to my country for?" 

- Viviana Molina, Myrtle Beach, S.C. 

I am a Vietnam War veteran 
who was laid off 14 months ago. 
I tried using to 
find work. The site is a night- 
mare that requires information, 
such as age, that allows for 

After filling out eight pages of 
detailed information on my 
20-plus years in aviation for a 
job with the FAA, I received a 
notice that it couldn't hire me 
because I wasn't an employee of 
the FAA. I wasted 12 hours of 
my job-search time pursuing a 
nonexistent job. 

There is little wonder at the 
low public perception of federal 
employees when the people who 
get hired by the government are 
the best at navigating the 
website and getting the job, 
rather than doing the job. 

- Greg Scher, Cabot, Ark. 

I have bachelor's, master's 
and doctoral degrees, and I 
served as a combat officer in 
the Army. I have been a coun- 
selor, among other things, and 
supervised large numbers of 
people. Yet when I applied to 
VA, I didn't even receive an 

I have applied for other 
positions with various govern- 
ment agencies and received no 
response. And though well- 
grounded in the use of comput- 
ers, I found obtuse 
and confusing. 



At the state level, the employ- 
ment security commissions have 
been of little assistance, and the 
veterans representatives are 
typically not veterans. The same 
goes for veterans representatives 
at the various educational 
institutions with which I have 
been associated. 

The government's record in 
honoring veterans by acting 
upon the words they expound - 
"hire a vet" - is disappointing. 
And with so many elected and 
appointed officials themselves 
nonveterans, I do not foresee any 
change in the situation. 

-Oscar Patterson III, 
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. 

The one item Ken Olsen 
neglected to talk about is the 
so-called union of federal 
workers. Whenever a job comes 
up in the VA system, these 
workers have first crack at it 
before it is advertised to others, 
like veterans. Veterans may 
apply for any job, but if a quali- 
fied federal employee also 
applies, he or she has the first 
crack. Only if the job is not filled 
this way is it opened up to 
others. It is a fallacy that vets 
have any preference in the VA 

- Thomas J. Jurek, Cheyenne, Wyo. 

I am a disabled Vietnam War 
veteran. I retired from a VA 
medical center last January. I 
can tell you firsthand that 
veteran employees are becoming 
scarce in that hospital. Why 
would VA discriminate against 
the very people it's supposed to 
be serving? 

- Thomas Rush, Topeka, Kan. 

'Flight of the Superbug' 

Thank you for your article on 
MRSA (December). As a nurse, I 
get questions all the time about 
this problem. A lot of people 
carry the bacteria in their noses, 
without symptoms. Handwash- 
ing is key. Wash your hands 
after blowing your nose, and do 
not cover your mouth with your 
hand when you cough or sneeze. 
Cover it with your arm or cough 
into your shoulder. Also, our 
moms were right when they told 
us not to pick our noses. Even 
the healthiest may harbor MRSA. 
- Trish Williams, Litchfield Park, Ariz. 

I can relate to the article on 
the superbug Staphylococcus. On 
June 3, 2009, I had a cataract 
removed from my right eye. On 
June 6, my eye started swelling. 
Three operations later, I lost all 
vision in my right eye. I wrote to 
my congressman and state 
senator, and more or less was 
told to get a lawyer. More steps 
should be taken during hospital 
stays. Everyone should have a 
staph test. 

- Gerald F. Carey, Milo, Maine 

'Going, going, gone?' 

The report of U.S. Navy ships 
decreasing from 466 in 1992 to 
285 in 2010 (Rapid Fire, Decem- 
ber) is extremely disturbing 
when the Chinese are actively 
upgrading and increasing their 
number of naval ships. Few 
Americans are truly aware of 
this fact relative to the protection 
of this country, which remains at 
risk across its various borders. 
We are no longer protected by 
the two oceans. 

- Roger L. Kehrier, Plymouth, Mich. 

The graphic depicting a 
dwindling naval force pessimisti- 
cally implies that U.S. Navy 
ships will phase to zero. I am 
more optimistic, and see Navy 
ships becoming more efficient - 
accomplishing more and more 
with less and less to deter and 
conquer disturbers of peace. 

To back my claim, another 
Rapid Fire piece ("HULC, Mos- 
quito, Shredder - A Look at 
Tomorrow's Troop Technology") 
describes an exoskeleton that 
can allow soldiers to "carry as 
much as 200 pounds of gear over 
rough terrain." That's American 
ingenuity for you. 

-Joseph Hicswa, Passaic, N.J. 

No to wind turbines 

I understand the concern of 
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, 
D.-Fla., for the environment in 
her home state (Big Issues, 
November), but I do not agree 
with all of her solutions, specifi- 
cally that of wind turbines. 

Here in Maine, many of us are 
sickened by the horrific damage 
to our mountains that is just 
beginning. There are plans to 
destroy thousands of acres of 
land, kill off wildlife species and 
their habitats, and conduct 
blasting that will impact our 
cold-water fisheries and aquifers. 

Maine residents do not even 
get the benefit of any wind-tur- 
bine-produced energy, as we 
currently produce more hydro 
energy than we need. It will be 
sold to Canada and states to the 
south of us. The only ones 
benefiting financially from this 
are the current and past politi- 
cians involved. 

- David Miller, Lexington Township, Maine 


Include your hometown and a daytime phone number for verification. All letters published are subject to editing. 
Due to the volume of mail received, not every letter can be acknowledged. 
The American Legion Magazine, P.O. Box 1055, Indianapolis, IN 46206 



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A couple of words worth sharing 

Traditionally, this space is reserved for American Legion national com- 
manders to sound off on global issues, or to raise awareness of impor- 
tant programs that advance the organization's mission. I have something 
a little different in mind this month, but it's equally significant. 

My message is this: remember the value of saying thanks. 

In volunteer organizations like The American Legion, that's often the 
only compensation for a job well done. To those currently serving our 
country in uniform, a little bit of unsolicited gratitude can go a long way 
toward easing the often lonely tension of wartime service far from home. 
As for us older veterans, I recently learned that a company interested in 
learning what makes Legionnaires tick found that it wasn't money or 
fame, but gratitude and remembrance. This makes a lot of sense to me. 
I see it everywhere, and I know my fellow Legionnaires do, too. 

We see it in the way the same post historian carefully assembles a 
scrapbook of photos, news clips and event programs year after year a 
half-century after fighting at the frozen Chosin Reservoir. We see it at 
the front desk of the VA medical center, where the same clutch of 
Legionnaires and Auxiliary members can always be found helping 
patients and families get where they need to go. When U.S. flags magi- 
cally appear for patriotic holidays along your town's main street, chanc- 
es are that some unassuming veteran with a good pickup truck made it 
happen, wanting nothing in return other than the satisfaction of having 
done something that needed doing. 

When I was elected to lead this great organization, I stood before 
our national-convention delegates and thanked them. Then I directed 
them to go back to their hometowns across the land and express 
gratitude to those who make a difference in their communities. Mark 
Twain wrote that "kindness is a language which the deaf can hear 
and the blind can see." An unknown author wrote that "the two most 
important words are 'thank you.' The one most important word: 'we.' 
The least important word: 'I.'" 

With that in mind, please think about that special person in your 
community. It might be a veteran or a member of the National Guard 
who's never complained about the number of deployments that led 
to missed birthdays or anniversaries. It might be a family member who 
weathers the stress of a loved one at war or struggles to find a job in this 
difficult economy. It might be the teacher who always does a great job 
preparing students to compete in The American Legion Oratorical 
Contest, or the local newspaper reporter who never forgets to publish 
stories about it. It's certainly that young man or woman in a military 
uniform pacing nervously at the airport or train station, in transit from 
one training installation to another, or from a training installation to a 
combat outpost. 

Please walk up to them and thank them. Remember to drop them a 
card from time to time. Let them know that when good people humbly 
sacrifice their time and energy - or even risk their lives - for the benefit 
of others, we have a couple of words we'd 
like to share. 


National Commander 
Jimmie L Foster 



As part of the Legion's Regional 
Office Action Review (ROAR) 
program - in which Legion officials 
and local veterans meet with VA 
Regional Office administrators and 
employees to see what progress is 
being made to reduce the VA 
claims backlog - a confidential 
survey is available online for 
members to share problems, and 
successes, they have encountered 
with their regional offices. We need 
your input, 


A revamped Citizens Flag Alliance 
website,, is now 
online. The new CFA site features 
breaking news regarding the 
U.S. flag, a Frequently Asked 
Questions section about the 
CFA and the proposed flag 
amendment, a chronology of 
events since the U.S. Supreme 
Court struck down flag-protection 
laws in 1989, and a history of 
congressional testimony 
advocating a flag amendment. 

The new CFA site also allows 
visitors to either donate to the 
CFA, or reach out to members of 
Congress to urge their support for 
a flag amendment. They'll also 
find step-by-step instructions for 
writing letters to Congress, or 
editorials or letters to the editor in 
their local newspapers. 

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Federal support for ethanol 


Rep. John Shimkus, R-lll. 

■ Shimkus serves on the House 
Energy and Commerce Committee. 



Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. 

■ Flake serves on the House 
Committee on Natural Resources. 

Ethanol is an important part of our nation's 
energy security. 

If we think about electricity production, 
the United States is virtually independent. We 
produce nearly 100 percent of electricity within 
our own borders. 

With regard to our liquid 
fuels, however, we are not 
independent, importing 
60 percent of our oil. Not only 
do we import crude oil, we 
now import refined petroleum products. Our 
largest sources are Canada and Mexico. We could 
become energy-independent if we focus on North 
American resources. 

We import large amounts of oil from nations that 
hate our democracy yet love our dollars, such as 
Venezuela. Saudi Arabia and Nigeria round out the 
top five nations from which we import oil. The 
American people want us to decrease our reliance 
on imported crude oil, especially from countries 
that are our enemies or that don't appreciate or 
support our democracy. 

Ethanol is just one of the ways that we can 
increase our production of fuel right here in the 
United States. Corn and other ethanol-fuel stocks 
are renewable. Plus, we don't need to transport 
them around the globe. Beneficiaries are farm- 
ers, ethanol-plant employees, and local govern- 
ment bodies that receive real-estate taxes - not 
foreign governments. 

Many complain about the tax incentives given to 
ethanol, yet these same people remain silent over 
the tax incentives given to the oil and gas indus- 
tries. Ethanol neither takes food away from the 
food supply, nor takes more energy to produce 
than it contributes. 

In 2007, 2.3 billion bushels of corn produced 
6.5 billion gallons of ethanol. That is a made-in- 
America fuel I am proud to use. 


Supporters say ethanol fuel 
deserves federal assistance. 
Critics say the subsidies are too costly. 

With the pending expiration of federal incen- 
tives for ethanol, a discussion of federal assis- 
tance to the corn-ethanol industry is long over- 
due. The federal government began assisting the 
corn-ethanol industry several decades ago in 

order to lessen our depen- 
dence on foreign oil and to 
reduce greenhouse gases. 
Corn ethanol has not 
achieved either goal, tens of 
billions of dollars have been 
wasted, and the policy has been fraught with 
unintended consequences. 

The corn-ethanol industry benefits from 
a tax credit worth 45 cents for every gallon 
blended with gasoline, which cost U.S. taxpayers 
more than $5 billion in 2009 alone. In addition, 
the ethanol industry has benefited from protec- 
tion from competition in the form of prohibitive 
tariffs on imports. Both the tax credit and the 
import tariff were set to expire at the end of 2010. 

The billions of dollars wasted on the industry 
is reason enough to let the ethanol tax credit 
expire and begin to let the industry stand on 
its own, but the money wasted is only the tip of 
the iceberg. For example, corn-ethanol subsidies 
have inflated the price of corn and rippled 
through other industries dependent on corn, such 
as pork producers. 

What's worse is that federal support for 
ethanol has made it more difficult for other 
forms of alternative energy to be developed. 
It ought to be the marketplace, not the federal 
government, that decides what alternative-energy 
industry is in the best position to meet our 
country's energy needs. 

Our federal corn-ethanol policy has been a bad 
deal for taxpayers and consumers, and letting the 
incentives expire would be a good first step in 
correcting this boondoggle. 


The Honorable (name), U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510 • Phone: (202) 224-3121 

The Honorable (name), U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515 • Phone: (202) 225-3121 


1-866-768-6517 • 


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Nearly 800,000 Americans experience 
a stroke each year. Stroke is the 
fourth-leading cause of death in the 
United States. Only heart disease and 
cancer take more lives. But there's 
some good news. The death rate 
from stroke fell by more than 
30 percent between 
1996 and 2006. That's 
mostly due to better 
prevention efforts, 
according to the 
American Heart 

In its new guidelines 
based on the latest 
research, the group says the 
risk of stroke can be cut 
by 80 percent by taking 
these healthy steps: 

Don't smoke. It's also a 
good idea to avoid 
breathing secondhand smoke. 

Eat a balanced diet. Try to 

eat at least five servings of 
vegetables and fruits daily. 

Limit alcohol to no more than 
two drinks a day for men and 
one drink a day for women. 

Get up and get going. 

Get at least 30 minutes of 
moderately intense physical activity 
every day. 

Chocolate and your heart 


The news couldn't be sweeter for chocoholics in recent months. 
Several large studies have found cardiac benefits to eating chocolate. 

But there are caveats: dark chocolate, 
with its higher cocoa content, 
is more healthful than milk 
chocolate. And light to 
moderate consumption 
is best. 

The American Heart 
Association is not quite ready 
to deem chocolate a 
"heart- heal thy" food. 
Research has by no means 
shown a cause-and-effect link 
between chocolate and cardiac 
health. And experts still have 
concerns about the calories and 
sugar in the lower-quality 
chocolate that Americans often eat. 
But studies do offer interesting 
food for thought. 

A group with VA, Brigham and 
Women's Hospital, and Harvard Medical 
School looked at dietary factors and coronary 
heart disease among nearly 5,000 adults. Those 
who reported eating chocolate five times or more 
per week were about half as likely to have heart disease as those who 
didn't partake at all. 

In a Harvard-led study of nearly 32,000 Swedish women, 
those who ate an average of one to two servings of high-quality 
chocolate per week had a 32-percent-lower risk of heart failure. For 
those who reported eating chocolate every day, there was no such 
protective effect. 

An Australian study of more than 1,200 older women found 
that those who ate chocolate at least once a week vs. those 
who consumed less were 35 percent less likely to die from coronary 
heart disease, and 60 percent less likely to die from heart failure, over 
the 10-year study. 

Chocolate, especially the cocoa-rich dark variety, has natural 
antioxidants called flavonoids. These compounds may help explain 
chocolate's apparent health benefits. Other studies have suggested 
that chocolate may also help lower blood pressure, prevent excess 
blood-clotting and curb inflammation. 

Dr. Joel Kupersmith is chief research and development officer for the 
Veterans Health Administration. 

Living Well is designed to provide general information. It is not intended to be, nor is it, medical advice. Readers should 
consult their physicians when they have health problems. 


is Diabetic Nerve Pain 

keeping you out of the game? 

Diabetes damages 
nerves which may 
cause a unique 
type of pain.* 

Lyrica is 

believed to 
work on these 
damaged nerves. 

*Artist depiction of diabetic nerve pain symptoms 



Move towards relief with Lyrica. 

Burning, throbbing symptoms in your hands or feet? Lyrica is 
FDA approved to effectively treat Diabetic Nerve Pain. Over-the- 
counter pain relief pills are not FDA approved to treat this unique 
kind of pain. Lyrica studies showed that patients had 
less Diabetic Nerve Pain and felt better. 

Start the Lyrica conversation with your doctor today. 

Prescription Lyrica is not for everyone. Tell your doctor right away about any serious allergic reaction that causes swelling of 
the face, mouth, lips, gums, tongue, throat or neck or any trouble breathing or that affects your skin. Lyrica may cause suicidal 
thoughts or actions in a very small number of people. Call your doctor right away if you have new or worsening depression, 
suicidal thoughts or actions, or unusual changes in mood or behavior. Lyrica may cause swelling of your hands, legs and feet. 
Some of the most common side effects of Lyrica are dizziness and sleepiness. Do not drive or work with machines until you know 
how Lyrica affects you. Other common side effects are blurry vision, weight gain, trouble concentrating, dry mouth, and feeling 
"high." Also, tell your doctor right away about muscle pain along with feeling sick and feverish, or any changes in your eyesight 
including blurry vision or any skin sores if you have diabetes. You may have a higher chance of swelling, hives or gaining weight 
if you are also taking certain diabetes or high blood pressure medicines. Do not drink alcohol while taking Lyrica. You may have 
more dizziness and sleepiness if you take Lyrica with alcohol, narcotic pain medicines, or medicines for anxiety. If you have had a 
drug or alcohol problem, you may be more likely to misuse Lyrica. Tell your doctor if you are planning to father a child. Talk with 
your doctor before you stop taking Lyrica or any other prescription medication. 

Please see Important Facts Brief Summary on adjacent page. 

To learn more or call toll-free 1-888-9-LYRICA (1-888-959-7422). 
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. 

Visit WWW.FDAgOV/medWatch Or Call 1-800 FDA1088. © 2010 Pfizer Inc. All rights reserved. PBP00916A 







Important safety information about lyrica^ 

LYRICA may cause serious, even life threatening, allergic reactions. 

Stop taking LYRICA and call your doctor right away if you 
have any signs of a serious allergic reaction: 

• Swelling of your face, mouth, lips, gums, tongue, throat or neck 

• Have any trouble breathing 

• Rash, hives (raised bumps) or blisters 

Like other antiepileptic drugs, LYRICA may cause suicidal thoughts 
or actions in a very small number of people, about 1 in 500. 

Call your doctor right away if you have any symptoms, 
especially if they are new, worse or worry you, including: 

• New or worsening depression 

• Suicidal thoughts or actions 

• Unusual changes in mood or behavior 

Do not stop LYRICA without first talking with your doctor. 

LYRICA may cause swelling of your hands, legs and feet. 

This swelling can be a serious problem with people with 
heart problems. 

LYRICA may cause dizziness or sleepiness. 

Do not drive a car, work with machines, or do other 
dangerous things until you know how LYRICA affects you. 
Ask your doctor when it is okay to do these things. 


LYRICA is a prescription medicine used in adults 18 years and older 
to treat: 

• Pain from damaged nerves that happens with diabetes or 
that follows healing of shingles 

• Partial seizures when taken together with other seizure 

• Fibromyalgia (pain all over your body) 

Who should NOT take LYRICA: 

Anyone who is allergic to anything in LYRICA 


Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, including if you: 

• Have had depression, mood problems or suicidal thoughts or 

• Have or had kidney problems or dialysis 

• Have heart problems, including heart failure 

• Have a bleeding problem or a low blood platelet count 

• Have abused prescription medicines, street drugs or alcohol 
in the past 

• Have ever had swelling of your face, mouth, tongue, lips, 
gums, neck, or throat (angioedema) 

• Plan to father a child. It is not known if problems seen in 
animal studies can happen in humans. 

• Are pregnant, plan to become pregnant or are breastfeeding. 
It is not known if LYRICA will harm your unborn baby. 
You and your doctor should decide whether you should take 
LYRICA or breast-feed, but not both. 

Tell your doctor about all your medicines. Include over-the- 
counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. 
LYRICA and other medicines may affect each other causing 
side effects. Especially tell your doctor if you take: 

• Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. You may 
have a higher chance for swelling and hives. 


• Avandia® (rosiglitazone)*, Avandamet® (rosiglitazone and 
metformin)* or Actos® (pioglitazone)** for diabetes. You 
may have a higher chance of weight gain or swelling of 
your hands or feet. 

• Narcotic pain medicines (such as oxycodone), tranquilizers or 
medicines for anxiety (such as lorazepam). You may have a 
higher chance for dizziness and sleepiness. 

^ Any medicines that make you sleepy > 


LYRICA may cause serious side effects, including: 

• See "Important Safely Information About LYRICA." 

• Muscle problems, pain, soreness or weakness along with 
feeling sick and fever 

• Eyesight problems including blurry vision 

• Weight gain. Weight gain may affect control of diabetes and 
can be serious for people with heart problems. 

• Feeling "high" 

If you have any of these symptoms, tell your doctor right away. 

The most common side effects of LYRICA are: 

• Dizziness • Trouble concentrating 

• Blurry vision • Swelling of hands and feet 

• Weight gain • Dry mouth 

• Sleepiness 

If you have diabetes, you should pay extra attention to your 
skin while taking LYRICA and tell your doctor of any sores 
or skin problems. i 



• Take LYRICA exactly as your doctor tells you. Your 
doctor will tell you how much to take and when to take it. 
Take LYRICA at the same times each day. 

• Take LYRICA with or without food. 


• Drive a car or use machines if you feel dizzy or sleepy 
while taking LYRICA. 

• Drink alcohol or use other medicines that make you 
sleepy while taking LYRICA. 

• Change the dose or stop LYRICA suddenly. 

You may have headaches, nausea, diarrhea, or trouble 
sleeping if you stop taking LYRICA suddenly. 

• Start any new medicines without first talking 

^to your doctor. ) 

''need more information? * 

• Ask your doctor or pharmacist. This is only a brief summary 
of important information. 

• Go to or call 
1-866-459-7422 (1-866-4LYRICA). 



Uninsured? Need help paying for Pfizer 
medicines? Pfizer has programs that 
can help. Call 1-866-706-2400 or visit 

PARKE— DAVIS Division of Pfizer Inc New York NY 10017 * Avandia and Avandamet are registered trademarks of GlaxoSmithKline. Rx only 
©2010 Pfizer Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA. ** Actos j s a k of Takeda Chemicals Industries Ltd., and 

& is used under license by Takeda Pharmaceuticals of America, Inc., and 

Version January 20 1 0 Eli Lilly and Co . 

Chemical exposures linked to thyroid disease 


More and more, evidence suggests that pesticides and other synthetic 
chemicals in the environment are bad news for the thyroid gland, 
especially in women. The butterfly-shaped gland rests at the base of the 
throat. By secreting the hormone thyroxine from its two lobes, the gland 
tells all the body's cells and organs 
how fast or slow to work. 
Sometimes, however, the thyroid 
goes haywire. An estimated 27 
million Americans have thyroid 
disease, which can manifest as a 
sluggish, underactive gland 
(hypothyroidism), an overactive 
gland (hyperthyroidism), or as 
thyroid nodules, which may swell, 
cause discomfort, and drive levels of 
thyroid hormone too high. 

Although genes have more to do 
with a person's chance of 
developing thyroid disease than 
anything else, the increased risk 
from chemicals is getting attention 
in medical circles. But while a wide 
range of synthetic compounds are 
now believed to disrupt the 
function of the thyroid hormone, 
studies in humans are sparse. 

A study of Danish greenhouse 
workers who worked with 60 
different pesticides found harmful 
changes in their thyroid function. 
Scientists at the University of 
Nebraska Medical Center reported 
in the American Journal of 
Epidemiology last year that women whose spouses had worked with 
pesticides were significantly more likely to have hypothyroidism. In some 
cases, exposure to the pesticides was linked to a doubling or tripling of 
thyroid-disease risk. 

Other compounds also appear to cause problems. Perfluoroalkyl acids 
(PFAAs) are a family of widely used chemicals found in many industrial 
and consumer products. Nearly everyone has some PFAAs in their blood, 
where these compounds linger for several years after exposure. Using 
blood samples from nearly 4,000 adults, British researchers found that 
the higher the blood concentration of PFAAs, the greater the likelihood of 
thyroid disease. Other studies have found that bisphenol A (BPA), a 
chemical in polycarbonate plastics (found in some water bottles, food 
containers and canned goods), disrupts the normal activity of thyroid 
hormone in animals, although the effects in humans need further study. 
Perchlorates (chemicals used in rocket fuel and fireworks) and 
thiocyanate compounds in cigarettes have also been implicated. 

Judith Hurley is a freelance writer specializing in medicine and health. 


An underactive thyroid gland is 
the most common type of 
thyroid disease, affecting 
17 percent of women and 

9 percent of men 
by 60. Symptoms 
include fatigue, 
weight gain, 
depression, mood 
swings, coarse 
hair and dry skin. 
Symptoms of an 
overactive thyroid 
include sweating, 
weight loss, 
changes in 
appetite or vision, 
frequent bowel 
tremor, sleep 
disturbances and 
intolerance of 
heat. Thyroid 
nodules may or 
may not be 
noticeable, but 
any small swelling 
or lump in the 
throat or neck 
should be 
checked by a 


Completely avoiding the 
synthetic chemicals linked to 
thyroid disease isn't easy, but it 
makes sense to avoid exposure 
to pesticides, plastics that 
contain bisphenol A (BPA), 
cigarette smoke, and fumes from 
paint and new carpeting when 
possible. The American 
Association of Clinical 
Endocrinologists states that 
women, people with diabetes, 
and older people have a higher 
risk for thyroid disease. A simple 
blood test can determine 
whether a person's thyroid gland 
is working normally. 


i w'wc wn.i 

A little extra weight nothing to ignore 

If you've gotten complacent about those few extra 
pounds hugging your waist, take note. One of the 
largest studies to date found that being even a little 
overweight shortened the life spans of subjects. 
Sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, 
the study of nearly 1.5 million people 
involved researchers at a dozen 
institutions around the world. They 
reported in the New England Journal 
of Medicine that women who were 
overweight had a 13-percent- 
increased likelihood of dying during 
the study's five- to 28-year follow-up 
period. Findings were similar for men. 

It has long been known that obesity is 
linked to death from heart disease, stroke and 
some cancers, but previous studies evaluating 
mortality in overweight individuals have been 
inconclusive. Two-thirds of U.S. adults are now 
overweight or obese. 


Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body 
fat in adults based on height and weight. 

Calculate your BMI online: 
@ www.nhlbisupport com/bmi/bmicalc.htm 

BMI rankings 

Below 18.5 


18.5 to 24.9 

Normal weight 

25.0 to 29.9 


30.0 or above 



The U.S. News & World Report Hospital Honor Roll for 
2010-2011 spotlights some of the very best hospitals in the 
world. Requirements to make the Honor Roll are so 
stringent that "99.7 percent of all centers in the nation were 
excluded," according to the magazine. 

The rankings are based on a number of factors, 
including operating rooms that perform cutting-edge 
procedures, patient safety, death rates, patient care and 
services, peer reputation, referrals for patients in serious 
condition, and unusual capabilities and specialties. 

^ 1 Johns Hopkins 
Hospital, Baltimore 

2 Mayo Clinic, Rochester, 

3 Massachusetts General 
Hospital, Boston 

4 Cleveland Clinic 

5 Ronald Reagan UCLA 
Medical Center, Los Angeles 

6 New York-Presbyterian 
University Hospital of 
Columbia and Cornell 

7 University of California, 

San Francisco Medical Center 

8 Barnes-Jewish Hospital/ 
Washington University, 

5f. Louis 

9 Hospital of the University 
of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 

10 Duke University Medical 
Center, Durham, N.C. 

©Find out more: 


As people live longer, 
eye doctors expect to see 
more cataracts, a 
condition in which the 
lens of the eye becomes 
thicker, less flexible and 
clouded. According to 
the American Academy 
of Ophthalmology, 
70 percent of people 
develop cataracts by 75. 
The National Eye Institute 
recommends these steps 
to prevent them: 

■ Wear sunglasses and a 
wide-brimmed hat to 
protect eyes from UV 

■ Don't smoke. 

■ Eat antioxidant-rich 
green leafy vegetables. 

■ Get a comprehensive 
eye exam every two years 
if you're 60 or older. 

Surprisingly, some 
drugs may help, too. 
A large study at Tel Aviv 
University found that 
taking a statin drug 
cut cataract risk by 
38 percent in men 
and 18 percent in 
women, thanks to 
the medication's 




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PROMO CODE 2282021 

Debt panels target military retirees 


Two separate blue-ribbon panels created to find 
ways to curb the federal government's enormous 
and rising debt have targeted TRICARE beneficia- 
ries for higher fees and future military retirees for 
smaller annuities. 

The same panels propose no specific cuts to VA 
benefits or services. However, they do recommend 
replacing the current index for calculating annual 
cost-of-living adjustments 
(COLAs) to dampen growth 
in entitlements, including 
veterans disability compensa- 
tion, federal retirement and 
Social Security. 

The National Commission 
on Fiscal Responsibility and 
Reform, co-chaired by former 
Republican Sen. Alan Simp- 
son and Erskine Bowles, 
chief of staff to President 
Clinton, released its final 
report in December. It 
proposes dramatic cuts 
across government, including 
Social Security and Medicare 
for current workers and even 
to defense programs. It also 
calls for a variety of higher taxes and an end to 
some prized tax deductions. 

Military retirees 65 and older who use TRICARE 
For Life (TFL) as a kind of golden insurance 
supplement to Medicare would face higher out-of- 
pocket costs. 

To encourage the elderly to use health care more 
efficiently, the commission says TFL and other 
Medigap plans should be barred from covering the 
first $500 of costs not paid by Medicare and should 
cover only half of the next $5,000. So TFL users 
and other elderly Americans using Medicare could 
pay up to $3,000 more annually. This idea is 
projected to save $4 billion for Medicare and 
TRICARE through 2015. 

The Simpson-Bowles panel wants a task 
force created to re-evaluate federal retirement 
plans, which it says are out of line with private- 
sector pensions. The goal is to cut $70 billion over 
10 years. The commission also says a separate 
process should be set up to control federal 
health-care spending, including by TRICARE 

In November, the Debt Reduction Task Force, 
co-chaired by former Republican Sen. Pete 
Domenici and economist Alice Rivlin, brought out 
another package of federal cost-cutting recommen- 
dations. It calls for a freeze on total domestic 
discretionary spending, which would almost 
certainly dampen new initiatives to help veterans, 
and curb growth in the VA budget. 

The Domenici-Rivlin plan 
also recommends cutting 
military retirement for 
servicemembers, including 
those fighting overseas, who 
haven't served more than 
15 years. More would qualify 
for some retirement annui- 
ties, but at 60, if they serve at 
least 10 years. Completion of 
the traditional 20-year career 
would no longer trigger an 
immediate annuity. Instead, 
retired pay would begin at 57. 

Though not recommending 
specific cuts to VA health 
care, the report says the cost 
has climbed 71 percent in 
the past five years. This 
"must be slowed, or other domestic programs will 
have to be cut." 

One proposal found in both reports is a change 
to the method of setting COLAs for Social Security, 
federal retirement benefits, veterans compensation 
and more. Critics say federal entitlements should 
be adjusted annually, using a consumer price 
index that more closely tracks how consumers 
actually spend their dollars and, on average, would 
hold down adjustments to federal entitlements by 
about a quarter-percent point per year. Opponents 
say a chained-index CPI unfairly takes advantage 
of how rising prices change consumer behavior, 
and therefore does not fully protect consumers, 
and federal benefit programs, against inflation. 

As a new, more conservative Congress con- 
venes, it is uncertain how aggressive lawmakers 
will be in adopting any of these ideas for lowering 
budget deficits. 

Tom Philpott, a former Coast Guardsman, has 
written about veterans and military personnel issues 
for more than 30 years. 

Bright Ideas/XCollection 


1 0 Media Services S-8755 OF23347R-1 


EdenPURE ranked #1 in North America 

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Authorization Code EHS3551 
7800 Whipple Ave. N.W. 
Canton, OH 44767 

Sacred Tobacco 

Ho-Chunk Nation wants military authorities to stop confiscating it. 


What is it that makes tobacco such a sa- 
cred object in the spiritual world of 
American Indians? 

"It's not an item that we smoke at our leisure/' 
says Wilfrid Cleveland, president of the Ho-Chunk 
Nation in central Wisconsin. "It's a blessing from 
the Creator. He gave us this tobacco to use in our 
ceremonies, to ask Him for guidance." 

Sacred tobacco, Cleveland says, is no different 
from crosses, rosaries, Bibles or any other impor- 
tant religious objects. Most Ho-Chunks carry it 
with them, or keep it near them, in small pouches. 
When they join the military, their sacred tobacco 
goes with them. 

"From the beginning of time, we had our cer- 
emonies, and we were in unison with the Creator 
and the things around us," Cleveland says. "The 

harmony that we live in with creation - part of 
that is our sacred ceremonies, and our elders offer 
tobacco to the Great Spirit for safekeeping our 
young ones going off to war." 

Because sacred tobacco has a greenish-brown 
color - and usually looks quite different from the 
processed, chemical-added version packed into 
cigarettes - it is sometimes mistaken for marijua- 
na. Over the years, several American Indian 
servicemembers have had their tobacco pouches 
confiscated by military authorities. The contents 

above: Robert Mann displays the contents of his personal pouch 
of sacred tobacco, called "wak tani"in the Ho-Chunk language. 
Though the purpose, type and specific use of sacred tobacco 
varies between tribes, the cultural significance of the specially 
grown tobacco is universal. Valerie Tobias 


are tested and determined to be perfectly legal but 
are almost never returned to the individuals. 

The Ho-Chunk Nation wants the Department of 
Defense to stop taking its sacred tobacco. 

Robert Mann is a veterans service officer for the 
Ho-Chunks, and works closely with three Ameri- 
can Legion posts in the area: 442, 556 and 129. 
Whenever a tribal member's tobacco is confiscated 
in boot camp, during personnel inspections, or just 
before overseas deployments, Mann usually 
becomes involved. He thinks that some DoD 
personnel simply don't understand the importance 
of sacred tobacco in the Ho-Chunk belief system. 

"You'd have to compare it 
to something that's precious 
to you," Mann says. "Let's 
say you carry a Bible. This 
Bible means an awful lot to 
you, and you carry it at all 
times. And somebody walks 
up and says, Tou 
can't have that,' and takes it 
away from you with no 

"You think about our 
young warriors when this 
tobacco is given to them, and 
they're told what to use it for, 
and why it's there. Then it 
means much more to them, 
and they hold on to it tight- 
er." So when a drill sergeant 
or an inspector takes the 
tobacco away, Mann says, 
"they're taking a part of their 
life from them." 

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Robert Mann pauses 
before raising the flag in honor of his father 
during the annual Ho-Chunk Nation Memorial 
Day Powwow in Black River Falls, Wis. Valerie Tobias 

Mistaken for Marijuana. Since Aug. 11, 1978, 
the American Indian Religious Freedom Act 
has been on the books to protect tribal rights "to 
believe, express, and exercise" their traditional 
religions, including "access to sites, use and 
possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to 
worship through ceremonials and traditional rites." 

Less than a month after the 1978 law was 
passed, Marine Corps Pfc. James Pettibone had 
his sacred tobacco confiscated at Camp Lejeune, 
N.C. In a statement he wrote last year for the 
Ho-Chunk Nation's records, Pettibone explained 
that his tobacco was taken "because it resembled 
an illicit drug." One question put to him at the 
time was, "Is this that wacky tobacco you smoke to 
go on the warpath?" 

"Thirty-two years later," Pettibone wrote, "we 

are still dealing with wars that our sons and 
daughters have to contend with; thirty-two years 
later, our kids die and are still being stripped of 
their sacred tobacco pouches." 

Among Ho-Chunks serving in the military, 
tobacco confiscation is infrequent. But it happens 
often enough to remind the tribe that some mem- 
bers of the armed forces continue to violate 
federal law, and remain ignorant about American 
Indian beliefs. 

In 2009, Marcus Carriaga had his tobacco confis- 
cated by U.S. Navy customs when his Marine unit 
deployed to Qatar. Mann believes that most such 
incidents go unreported. 

James Greendeer, who joined 
the Marine Corps in 1959, 
thinks the use of marijuana by 
troops in the Vietnam War 
caused military authorities to 
become suspicious of sacred 
tobacco. Greendeer says he 
never had problems overseas 
with his tobacco or another 
sacred item he took from his 
Deer Clan's war bundle. 

A former veterans service 
officer for the Ho-Chunks, 
Greendeer believes that mari- 
juana use in the military is "why 
our Native Americans are being 
denied to have the sacred Indian 
tobacco. It's been more restric- 
tive since the Vietnam era." 

The Ho-Chunks never felt the 
need to explain their religious 
beliefs to the military or any 
other federal agency. "We never 
made a loud commotion about who the Ho-Chunk 
people are," Mann says. "We just passed along the 
traditions down to our children. But now we see 
that, because of the drug problems the United 
States has, they are more scrutinizing." 

A Warrior's Protection. The importance of sacred 
tobacco to Ho-Chunks, especially for those going 
to war, can be difficult for others to grasp. When 
an Army drill sergeant forced Pfc. Conroy Greend- 
eer Jr., to surrender his tobacco pouch at Fort Sill, 
Okla., in 2003, he poured the sacred material on 
the ground, called it contraband, and told Greend- 

Watch video interviews with Ho-Chunk leaders online: 


eer he had no rights that permitted him special 

Recounting this incident in a Dec. 29, 2003, letter 
to Secretary of the Army Les Brownlee, then-tribal 
president George Lewis wrote that the Army's 
actions "have dishonored the traditions of the 
Ho-Chunk Nation. American Indian warriors have 
a long and illustrious history of sacrifice and 
service in the armed forces of the United States, 
and the extremely serious nature of this incident 
has the potential to affect all Indians who serve in 
the United States 

According to DoD, 
American Indians 
historically have the 
highest rate of military 
service per capita 
compared to other 
ethnic groups. Many 
Ho-Chunks have died 
in combat overseas, 
defending a country 
their ancestors once 
warred against. One of 
the tribe's fallen 
warriors, Cpl. Mitchell 
Red Cloud Jr., received 
the Medal of Honor for 
his actions in the 
Korean War on Nov. 5, 

1950. Stationed on the point of a ridge right in 
front of his company's command post, Red Cloud 
was the first to face an onslaught of Chinese 
Communist troops charging from a brush-covered 
area less than 100 feet away. 

Firing into the oncoming enemy wave with his 
automatic rifle, Red Cloud delayed the assault and 
gained time for his company to defend itself. When 
Cpl. Red Cloud died for his country, his sacred 
tobacco was with him. 

In Vietnam, Andrew Thunder Cloud carried a 
pouch of tobacco given to him by his grandfather, 
who taught him about its purpose and how to use 
it. "Before you leave for Vietnam, go down to the 
ocean and put tobacco in the ocean for the Water 
Spirit," his grandfather advised. "Tell Him that 
you're going to be crossing the water and that you 
want a safe journey. When you get to the country 
that you're going to, put tobacco on the ground 
and offer it to God ... you're at the playground, and 
you're going to go play with the enemy. Ask Him to 
ensure your safety." 

Thunder Cloud was a Navy corpsman whose 

Herman Decorah of the Ho-Chunk Nation waves the Eagle Staff 
during the annual Ho-Chunk Nation Memorial Day Powwow. A 
Navy veteran, Decorah served two tours in Vietnam. Valerie Tobias 

tour in Vietnam lasted from January 1967 to March 
1968. His tribal elders told him to use his tobacco 
"when I was going into something difficult, or to 
use the tobacco when I returned from something 
that was difficult. And thanking God that I had 
made it through that ordeal safely. So that's what 
I did. I don't think I overdid it, but I found myself 
using my tobacco frequently." 

When Thunder Cloud finished his Vietnam tour 
and arrived in Okinawa, his sacred tobacco was 
confiscated, tested and never returned. He asked 

an officer to put his 
tobacco into a fire, 
instead of just throw- 
ing it away. "He said, 
'Will do, Doc' Wheth- 
er he ever did or not, 
I don't know. But I 
tend to think the 
colonel was a man of 
honor. I'd like to think 
he kept his promise." 

Enforcement and 
Education. If the 

sacred objects of 
American Indians are 
already protected by 
federal law, why 
doesn't the military 
enforce zero-tolerance 
of confiscations that are clearly illegal? 

Every Monday morning, in front of the tribe's 
administrative building, the U.S. flag is raised 
while Ho-Chunks sing songs that honor their 
warriors. "Some of them never came back. Some 
came back, but they were different from before 
because of what they witnessed, what they did in 
the war," Cleveland says. "So every Monday 
morning, we raise the flag." 

The Ho-Chunk president says it's frustrating that, 
given the wartime sacrifices his nation has made, 
legally protected sacred objects are still confiscated. 
"We understand the mindset of this society that 
dominates us, and it has no real consideration for 
what (a warrior) is carrying with him and the 
sacredness of it." 

In 2009, William Goodbear was upset when he 
heard that two Marines from his tribe had tobacco 
pouches taken away when they returned from Iraq. 
So he approached Ray Lopez, who was commander 
of Post 129 in Black River Falls, to pass a resolution 
that would call for a policy change. 
"He carried through, and got something passed 




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on the district level," Goodbear says. "So maybe on 
the state level we can do something about this." 

David Kurtz, adjutant of The American Legion's 
Department of Wisconsin, thinks the key to 
solving the issue is education. DoD has to do a 
better job in teaching its own 
people that sacred tobacco is 
not a controlled substance. 

"It's got to be a priority of 
leadership to penetrate down 
to the drill instructors, to the 
NCOs, get down to where the 
rubber meets the road and 
educate them," Kurtz says. 
"The military has so many 
administrative procedures to 
deal with somebody who 
enlists with different medical 
needs, or if they have differ- 
ent religious beliefs. It's a 
question of willingness to 
accommodate these beliefs." 

Kurtz doesn't see any good 
reason why the military can't 
solve the problem. He refers 
to a 1996 executive order 
signed by President Bill 
Clinton, protecting American 
Indian sacred sites, as an 
example of the federal 
government's commitment to 
resolve such issues favorably. 
Perhaps another executive order is needed to 
finally drive home the message that sacred 
tobacco is not to be confiscated. Or maybe 
another amendment, as the Ho-Chunks recom- 
mended in a 2004 resolution that urged Congress 
to "include traditional tribal practices relating to 
the carrying of sacred materials by Indian mem- 
bers" of the military. 

"Does it mean a congressional investigation?" 
Kurtz asks. "Is that what it would take to impress 
the leadership in DoD? 

"Sexual harassment, sexual assault, substance 
abuse, drinking - these things have been suffi- 
ciently emphasized by the leadership, and have 
penetrated to the boots on the ground that these 
kinds of behavior are not tolerated," Kurtz says. 
"That same type of emphasis, making these sacred 
objects a priority, will solve this problem." 

For God and Country. Whether or not DoD decides 
to train its personnel more effectively, Cleveland 
wants to see another federal law passed that would 

Apesanahkwat, a member of the Menominee 
Indian tribe of northeastern Wisconsin and a 
combat veteran of the Vietnam War, pauses 
during the annual Ho-Chunk Nation Memorial 

Day Powwow. Valerie Tobias 

specifically protect "our items that we feel are 
sacred to us, when our young men and women are 
making the ultimate sacrifice and going out to war 
for the United States." 
Mann says sacred tobacco is linked to a warrior's 
spirit, and that spirit lives on 
forever when a Ho-Chunk 
is killed in action. "This 
is part of our belief system. 
It is very sacred to us. Trying 
to explain this to people 
who don't understand is 
really hard, because you 
have to live this life to 
understand it." 

Whatever one's religious 
beliefs and whatever objects 
a servicemember holds 
sacred, they need to be 
respected by military author- 
ities, Kurtz says. "As veter- 
ans, as Americans, we 
respect each other's beliefs. 

"So if we're going to 
associate with our brothers 
and sisters in all branches 
of the services, from 
all races, colors and creeds, 
it starts with those words: 
Tor God and Country.' 
That's the beginning of 
camaraderie, and that's 
what we're all about." 

Sitting in a large room with many photographs 
on the walls depicting Ho-Chunks who have 
served in war, Mann holds up his pouch of sacred 
tobacco and says, "If you take this away from me 
right now, I'd be hurt. And I would cry, because 
it's part of my life." 

Whenever the military confiscates a pouch of 
sacred tobacco, it hurts that person not only 
mentally, but spiritually, Mann explains. "That's 
what I think a lot of people don't understand, the 
spiritual part of a Native American's life. We're a 
very spiritual people, and that spirituality goes 
real deep and far. 

"So when you take this tobacco away, it's taking 
a part of our life. It's like you took a knife and 
stabbed that person. You might as well have done 
that, because what you're doing to that person is 
hurting (him)." II 

Philip M. Callaghan is media marketing director 
for The American Legion. 


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The Different Student 

Well into its sophomore year, 
the Post-9/11 Gl Bill generation grapples 
with campus life and combat mentality. 


The Post-9/11 GI Bill is filled with complex provisions and specific 
requirements to meet the needs of veterans seeking modern 
college educations. But behind the benefit that became law in 
August 2008 is a simple philosophy: those who vowed to fight to 
the death for our country deserve the opportunity to get a 
degree and pursue a satisfying career after discharge. 

A similar philosophy made the original GI Bill 
one of the most impactful pieces of legislation in 
U.S. history. When millions of veterans came home 
from World War II, waiting for them stateside were 
home loans, unemployment compensation and, 
most importantly, the opportunity to attend college 
on the government's dime. These unprecedented 
opportunities helped create a well-educated, 
homeowning and prosperous American middle 
class, a wave of society now described as our 
nation's "greatest generation." 

Almost 70 years later, the nation is at a similar 
turning point. With wars on two fronts and an 
economy spinning in a recession, newly discharged 
veterans are once again looking to the GI Bill to 
guide their futures. Lawmakers and veterans 
advocates would like to believe that the Post-9/11 GI 
Bill will have the positive effect on the economy 
that its forefather legislation did, but the nature of 
higher education and the identity of the typical mili- 
tary veteran alike have changed dramatically over 
the decades. These days, almost everyone pursues 
some sort of additional schooling after high-school 
graduation, unlike a half-century ago. Also greatly 
changed is the traditional understanding of a 
college as a bricks-and-mortar institution. 

These evolutions in academia have complicated 
the process of turning today's combat veterans into 
college students. The Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit itself, 
which The American Legion strongly supported, 
was almost too successful when it was first imple- 
mented in August 2009. Thousands of students 
applied for the benefit at once, creating a bottle- 
neck that forced VA to make emergency cash 
payments to accommodate the first wave of GI Bill 
users. While the process of getting the benefit has 
smoothed out in its second year, other challenges 
persist. The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational 
Assistance Improvements Act of 2010 was passed 
in mid-December partly to address application and 
processing issues, as well as to expand the benefit 
to better serve National Guard and reserve veter- 
ans, and those who seek distance-learning or voca- 
tional educations. 

Military veterans, especially those who saw 

combat, often find it difficult to shift from military 
to college life. "It's tough," says Bob Madden, 
assistant director of the Legion's Economic Divi- 
sion. "They're older students, they're focused on 
getting their work done. They aren't going to join 
fraternities. These are different individuals than 
kids who are 19 and 20 years old. They are prob- 
ably working, and they could have families." 

These differences can create learning barriers, 
according to the National Survey of Student En- 
gagement (NSSE), an organization that annually 
collects information and reports findings about 
student engagement and participation at four-year 
colleges. In this year's survey, NSSE asked students 
polled to specify if they were veterans. 

The veteran students' answers greatly differed 
from traditional students in two areas. The survey 
found that student veterans, especially seniors, 
were less engaged with faculty and campus 
activities than their nonveteran counterparts, and 
perceived lower levels of support from the schools. 

"The supportive-campus measurement of the 
survey was one of the items where we were finding 
a low systemic score among veterans, compared to 
regular students," NSSE Director Alex McCormick 
says. "That's what leads us to conclude that special 
attention should be paid to them." 

At face value, the survey's findings are trou- 
bling. But they aren't indicative of a lack of effort 
on campuses, says Dan Sewell, national vice 
president of Student Veterans of America. To him, 
the issue isn't that academic institutions ignore 
student veterans - it's that they don't know how to 
embrace them. 

"Most universities are very supportive of veter- 
ans, but most aren't understanding of the ways 
they should support them," says Sewell, a senior at 
the University of Missouri. 

Methods of providing support vary and are still 
evolving. Many schools have support groups and 
organizations for veterans to join. Often, dedicated 
areas or buildings on campus are available for 
veterans. Some institutions employ counselors with 
military backgrounds to help veterans with benefits 
processing and personal issues. 



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In 2010, the National Survey of Student Engagement 
surveyed nearly 362,000 students, of whom 11,000 
identified themselves as veterans. They were asked 
about their learning experiences and perceptions on 
their campuses. 

■ Although veterans on average worked more hours 
per week and were likely to spend more time caring for 
dependents, they studied as many hours per week as 
nonveteran students. 

■ Student veterans, especially seniors, were generally 
less engaged, and perceived lower levels of support 
from their campuses than their nonveteran peers. 

■ College-enrolled veterans were predominantly male, 
and more likely than traditional students to attend 
school part time as first-generation students, transfer 
students or online learners. This was especially true for 
combat veterans. 

Approximately one in five enrolled combat veterans 
reported having at least one disability, compared to 
about one in 10 nonveterans. 

■ Veterans attended all types of institutions, but were 
more likely to be at public schools than students 
without service backgrounds. 

■ Veterans were less likely than nonveterans to 
attend baccalaureate arts and sciences colleges or 
research-intensive, doctorate-granting universities. 

Among first-year students and seniors polled, combat 
veterans spent significantly more time working than 
traditional students and veterans who didn't see 

■ Full-time first-year combat veterans spent twice as 
much time working and about six times as many hours 
on dependent care, per week, as their nonveteran peers. 

■ Compared to first-year nonveterans, first-year 
noncombat veterans were less engaged with faculty, 
and first-year combat veterans perceived less campus 
support than nonveterans. 

■ Despite the perceived lack of support and 
the tendency to engage faculty less, there were 
no significant differences between first-year 
student veterans and nonveterans in levels of 
overall satisfaction. 

To what degree support services keep veteran 
students on campus and pursuing their educations 
is unknown. VA doesn't keep statistics on retention 
or degree completion for GI Bill users. 

The dropout rate among veterans, however, is on 
the radar screen of VA's director of education 
services, Keith Wilson. "We can do the best job in 
the world with providing benefits to individuals, 
but if they don't stick with it and graduate, then 
it's all for naught," he says. "They need to get that 
degree so they can be the leaders the nation needs 
in the future." 

At 28, Sewell is a typical Post-9/11 GI Bill student. 
He attends a major university, is older than his 
classmates, and is fully aware that his Air Force 
experience distinguishes him. When he started 
college in 2007, many of the veterans-support and 
outreach programs now available at his college were 
just starting to spring up. Though he never per- 
ceived a lack of support, he understands how 
veterans feel after the abrupt change of lifestyles. 

"I think the initial reaction veterans have when 
they first get on campus is to be disengaged," 
Sewell says. "But in my opinion, and in my experi- 
ence, if you do your best to engage these students 
and try to find an understanding, the connection is 
going to be very valuable for the veteran and the 
student, because the veteran can gain a sense of 
comfort, and the student can gain insight into 
what the military is like." 

"In some ways, it's no different than what 
schools should do for other students," McCormick 
says. "Schools should do some sort of needs 
assessment and find out what things are going well 
and what roadblocks might exist for them - what is 
contributing to these feelings of there not being 
adequate support on campus. Institutions should 
look for models out there. There are campuses that 
accommodate veterans well. There are colleges that 
have offices that assist veterans in their adjustment 
to campus. It's not rocket science." 

The survey shows that the disconnect isn't 
caused by a lack of interest in academics. McCor- 
mick says it's particularly noteworthy that the 
study found that veterans applied about the same 
amount of time to school as their peers, even 
though they had other obligations. 

"Veterans spend more time working and more 
time caring for dependents, but they are spending 
just as much time studying," McCormick says. 
"They have all these responsibilities, but they are 
every bit as serious as other students." 

The stakes are high, Madden says. If the problem 
worsens, and the veterans don't complete their 

educations after they separate, a great disservice 
could be done to those who have served so honor- 
ably, he says. And, from an economic perspective, 
if student veterans are allowed to drift, he adds, 
they won't fulfill the promise of a modern GI Bill 
that has a tough act to follow. || 

Andy Romey is assistant web editor for The 
American Legion. 


Freedom Roar 

river Jerick Johnson and The American Legion/David Law Firm 76 Freedom Car team 
are busy preparing for nine consecutive days of oval-track competition at New Smyrna 
Speedway near Daytona, Fla., Feb. 11-19. The World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing 
event kicks off the 2011 season for Team Johnson Motors ports. 

The 76 Freedom Car is scheduled to compete in 10 other races in two racing series, 
beginning in Greenville, S.C., on March 26 and concluding at Rockingham Speedway 
in North Carolina on Nov. 5. Johnson will strap in for NASCAR K&N Pro Series races in 
South Carolina, Virginia, Iowa, Georgia, New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Delaware. 
He is also scheduled to race at two USAR events in North Carolina and one in Indiana. 

"We're looking forward to a very competitive season in NASCAR Pro and USAR 
races," Johnson said. "The tracks suit our style of racing. We should be able to 
compete in both circuits." 

In addition to sponsorship by The American Legion and The David Law Firm, the 

76 Freedom Car team has picked up an additional associate sponsor for the 
2011 racing season. 

"We are excited to welcome US Coin Boards of Mechanics- 
burg, Pa., as a sponsor," Johnson said. "The addition of US 
Coin Boards makes us a stronger race program." 

Jerick Johnson 
Age: 30 Height: 6'1" Weight: 210 
Wife: Tamara Children: Jadyn, Tyler 
Hometown: Faribault, Minn. 
Residence: Mooresville, N.C. 

His accomplishments 
2010 Competed in 14 ARCA Series races, finishing 
19th in championship points and second in Hard 
Charger category 

2009 ASA Late Model Challenge Series Rookie 
of the Year, ninth in points 
2009 GM Performance Parts Shootout 
winner, O'Reilly Raceway Park, Indianapolis 
2007 Competed in five NASCAR Busch 
Series races, including the inaugural 
NASCAR race in Canada 
2006 American Legion 76 Freedom Car 
first NASCAR Busch Series start in Milwaukee 

James V. Carroll 

The American Legion/David Law Firm 2011 Freedom Car Race Schedule 

Feb. 11-19 

World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing 

New Smyrna, Fla. 

March 26 

Greenville-Pickens Speedway 

Greenville, S.C. 

April 28 

Richmond International Speedway 

Richmond, Va. 

May 21 

Iowa Speedway 

Newton, Iowa 

June 11 

Gresham Motorsports Park 

Jefferson, Ga. 

July 15 

New Hampshire Motor Speedway 

Loudon, N.H. 

Aug. 13 

Concord Speedway 

Charlotte, N.C. 

Aug. 27 

Elko Speedway 

Elko, Minn. 

Sep. 30 

Dover International Speedway 

Dover, Del. 

Oct. 22 

O'Reilly Raceway Park 


Nov. 5 

Rockingham Speedway 

Rockingham, N.C. 

Racing schedules are subject to change. Stay up to date at 

Freedom Car sponsors 

The David Law Firm 

The David Law Firm, which has 
helped thousands of veterans 
diagnosed with mesothelioma 
or lung cancer obtain compensa- 
tion, is a primary co-sponsor. 

6 (800) 998-9729 


The David Law Firm 

US Coin Boards, LLC 

The American Legion Racing Team 
has added a new associate 
sponsor, US Coin Boards, which 
manufactures fundraising games 
for nonprofit 4#Pffep|||y"7 
organizations ^|§|{& DSae 

6 (717)795-1936 

Show your support 

Legionnaires can support the 
Freedom Car team by donating or 
purchasing racing merchandise, 
buying racing apparel from 
Emblem Sales online or over the 
phone, hosting fundraisers, 
booking the show car and 
Johnson, or securing an associate 
or honorary sponsorship. 

"Defeating today's Goliaths" 




Battles with the Japanese - and Jim Crow - shaped this black Seabee's life. 


The following recollection is adapted from an article 
that originally appeared in the Spring 2010 issue of 
WWII Quarterly. 

How I, then a teenager of African 
descent, found myself thousands 
of miles away from my rural Missis- 
sippi home and on a dangerous 
volcanic island known as Iwo Jima 
in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, where tens 
of thousands of men met violent deaths, is a 
journey at which I still marvel today, more than 
65 years later. 

In many ways, my transition from small-town 
youth to one of the U.S. Navy's Seabee (Construc- 
tion Battalion) units is not all that remarkable. 
After all, some 1,150,000 blacks served in the U.S. 
military during World War II. On the other hand, 
what we went through helped to profoundly 

change the course of history in this country. 

To understand how all this came about, let us 
start at the beginning - my beginning. 

In 1935, when I was 9, my folks moved from a 
rural area, where my father had rented about 
40 acres of land, to Memphis Town on the out- 
skirts of Columbus, Miss., which was then com- 
pletely racially segregated. Drinking fountains, 
restrooms, hotels, barbershops and restaurants 
were marked either "White" or "Colored/' Ditto for 
public transportation. There was no mixing of the 
races, except when blacks were hired to perform 
menial labor for whites. Although we silently 
resented the situation, there was no arguing about 
it. That's just the way it was. Tradition. The status 
quo. Jim Crow. Segregation. 

On Oct. 27, 1940, my mother died at 49. My 
father was left with two daughters - Ruth, 11, and 
Gladys, 9 - myself at 14, and my older brother Ira 


at 25. Our father never remarried. He did not have 
a regular job, so he became a handyman. 

Doing all he could to care for his family, Papa 
was not home very often. I dropped out of school 
when I was in the sixth grade. My father was not 
happy about it; he had a sixth-grade education, 
too, and he knew that if his children were to break 
out of poverty, education was the key. Nonetheless, 
I got a job delivering groceries to white families for 
$2 a week. Later I got a job washing dishes for 
$3.50 a week - 12 hours a day, seven days a week, 
with one meal a day. After I was there for a while, 
I felt I had earned a raise, up to the same amount 
the rest of the guys were paid. I asked the owner 
for $5 a week. She fired me. 

I understood I needed to go back to school, and 
at 17, I knew I had to do something to help my 
father. I had seen the posters and advertisements 
about the U.S. Armed Forces, so I went to the Navy 
recruiting office and asked to sign up. I had no 
particular reason to choose the Navy. At the time 
(early 1944), I was not aware that, if accepted, 
I would be among the first blacks to be inducted 
into the Navy with the rating of seaman, for the 
armed forces were then almost as segregated as 
Columbus, Miss. 

Prior to my enlisting, blacks in the Navy could 
only be steward's mates, which meant you were a 
waiter for the officers. I had simply decided to go 
into the service; what I would be doing did not 
matter. At 17, I needed parental approval to enlist, 
so I asked my father if he would sign the papers. 
I assured him I would send him a monthly allot- 
ment to help with my sisters. 

He agreed, and on Feb. 2, 1944, I became an 
apprentice seaman. I had nine days before I had to 
report to the naval office in Jackson, Miss. Even 
there, total segregation was still in force. They 
couldn't put me up in a hotel; I had to be housed 
with an approved colored family. 

But when I later arrived in Chicago for training, 
I was awestruck. Back in Mississippi, my entire 
world was about 15 square miles. I had never seen 
tall buildings before, and the sheer size of the 
place was beyond my imagination. Even more 
amazing, I saw black people and white people 
riding together on streetcars and on the "L," and 
there were no separate seats for blacks, no separate 
facilities for whites and blacks that I could see. 

At Great Lakes, we lived on a part of the base 
called Camp Robert Smalls, which was set aside 
exclusively for the training of black sailors. We 
marched and marched. It didn't make any sense to 
me then, but I eventually learned it was a method 

to teach us discipline - among other things. We 
black sailors were sort of a show, because our 
marching formation was not ramrod straight. We 
did all kinds of funny steps that would not have 
been tolerated, for instance, at the Naval Academy. 
The white officers would come to watch us do our 
thing. It was like, "These colored guys don't have 
to be professional; they're here for our amusement. 
They have a rhythm white guys don't have. 
Besides, they're here to do the 'scut' work." 

During this period, the first black officers had 
been commissioned in the Navy. They all came by 
our camp to give us hope that we could have a 
naval officer career. I remember thinking, so much 
for the vow that Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox 
had taken at an earlier time: "The Navy will 
remain lily-white." 

I remember wanting to be a naval officer after 
I met those ensigns. Later I learned that with less 
than a ninth-grade education, there was no way 
that would happen unless I went back to school. 

After boot camp, we were all given the rating of 
seaman second class; that had never happened to 
blacks before. We then got a nine-day leave, and 
I went back to Mississippi. My father was not an 
emotional man, but he was visibly proud of his 
son. Everybody in our neighborhood made me feel 
proud that I was in uniform. 

Before I went in the Navy, I had worked in a 
laundry as a presser, so I went by the shop to visit 
the people who were still there. The owners were 
happy to see me in uniform. I went back to the 
pressers' area, and there was a new foreman, a 
white man. I introduced myself, and when he 
asked me a question, I answered, "Yes." 

His response was, "You say 'yes, sir' to me, and 
don't you forget your place." It was a grim remind- 
er that, in uniform or not, I was still not equal. 

All of this humiliation was, and is, hurtful, but 
I don't remember it being surprising to me. I never 
allowed it to rise to the emotion of hate. For that, 
I give credit to my father; he never taught us to hate. 

When I returned to Great Lakes, I learned that 
we would be leaving the next day for California. 
Our new commanding officer told us we were 
going to do whatever we needed to do to kill the 
"Japs." Then he said, and I repeat verbatim: "I am 
from Georgia, and I want you all to know that 
there are two kinds of niggers: a good nigger and a 
dead nigger, and we don't want any dead ones." 
Three older men in our group went to the base 
commander and protested the officer's behavior. 
He was removed from our unit, and we were told 
he was busted to seaman first class. We never had 


any confirmation of that, though it could have 

In any case, a chief petty officer, a short guy, 
was promoted to lieutenant junior grade and 
assigned to our unit. We all knew him; he would 
accompany the officer of the day on his rounds of 
inspection when we were in boot camp. If your 
bunk was not made up properly, your mattress was 
pulled off your bunk, and the officer would walk 
on it, and you would get extra duty. Thus his 
nickname, "Extra-Duty Shorty." 

On our train ride to California, we stopped in 
Omaha, Neb., for dinner. The Red Cross ladies - all 
white - had prepared dinner for us at the train 
station, with white tablecloths and flowers on the 
tables. There were no signs over the water foun- 
tains or restrooms that read "Colored" or "White." 
And the ladies were so friendly; they even casually 
touched us. I had never witnessed this before from 
white people, especially females. 

When our troop train arrived in Oakland, Calif., 
buses took us to Camp Shoemaker, about 40 miles 
east of Oakland; we were there about three weeks. 
Every weekend we got liberty and, in addition to 
taking in all the beauty of the countryside, I had 
the opportunity to mingle with all kinds of people. 

I must admit that when I needed to use the facili- 
ties, I would find myself looking for the sign 
marked "Colored." It took time for that cautious- 
ness to go away. I was fascinated, taking in all the 
newness of almost everything I saw and experi- 
enced - especially this new freedom, which 
allowed me to engage people of different races and 
ethnicities other than myself, and I didn't have to 
say "Yes, sir" or "Yes, ma'am." If I didn't, there was 
no fear I would get a closed fist in my face. 

Then came time to sleep. None of us could afford 
a hotel, since $29 a month didn't go very far, even 
in 1944. My hotel was the San Francisco train 
station waiting room. I wasn't the only service- 
member to use the waiting room for that purpose. 

At the end of our stay at Camp Shoemaker, our 
commanding officer told us that buses would take 
us to the pier, where we would board a ship that 
would take us to an unknown destination. Even 
this was an adventure for me; I had never been on 
a ship before. As a matter of fact, before Great 
Lakes, I had never even seen a ship. 

As we moved from the pier, I stayed on deck 
to watch San Francisco fall behind the horizon. 
It was an experience I have no words to describe. 
I don't know where I thought the city had gone; 
I just know it scared me. I could not imagine being 
detached from the United States. 

On the seventh day, we saw land. We were told it 
was Honolulu, Hawaii. After we disembarked, we 
were taken to a building at Pearl Harbor where we 
waited around. Finally, we were taken to the mess 
hall for lunch; afterwards, we marched to our 
barracks. One of the things I noticed was that in 
addition to Navy personnel most of the civilians 
I saw cleaning the floors and taking out trash were 
Hawaiian or Asian, not white. That was a huge 
difference from what I was used to, a different 
kind of discrimination. Even though the civilians 
were not black, it was clear they were doing the 
kind of "scut" work blacks did back home. 

After a day or two, our commanding officer gave 
us our assignments. Mine was at the boathouse. 
I was to report in my white uniform. When I 
reported, I learned why. There were two ways you 
could go across the bay to travel to Honolulu. You 
could catch the ferry or you could ride in small 
boats. The advantage of the small boats was that 
they didn't have a regular schedule. They would go 
across the bay, let off passengers, and return to 
Pearl Harbor for more passengers. Those small 
boats had to have someone tie them up at the dock 
on both sides of the bay. My assignment was to tie 
and untie the small boats. I was disappointed, but 
I really did not resent this assignment. I saw my 
duty as doing whatever it took to make a contribu- 
tion to victory. 

In early January 1945, our commanding officer 
assembled our group. He called out several names, 
mine included, and told us we were being trans- 
ferred to the 23rd (Special) CBs. I didn't know 
what the CBs were, but it sounded to me like 
another adventure, and I welcomed it. 

CB stands for Construction Battalions, and they 
are roughly like the engineers in the Army. They 
build whatever the Navy needs: roads, airfields, 
ports, you name it. They also load and unload 
cargo. Our 23rd (Special) CB, or "Seabee" unit, 
was attached to the 3rd Marine Division. We had 
about 20 officers and almost 1,000 enlisted men. 

Our job was to unload ships and boats full of 
cargo and deliver it either to supply dumps or 
directly to the Marines under fire. Records show 
that we were 75.5-percent black, but our com- 
mander, H.W. Heuer, was white, as were our 
officers and most of the NCOs. 

We were moved to Iroquois Point, Oahu, where 
we remained for about three weeks. Then we 
boarded ship to another destination unknown. 
We stopped at the Marshall Islands, Guam, Saipan 
and Tinian, which had all been captured in 1944, 
but none of us left the ship at any stop. 


On Feb. 24, when we arrived at Iwo Jima, it was 
D + 5, which means that the operation to capture 
the island had begun five days earlier. There was 
an airfield there, and the United States wanted to 
take the island in order to use it as a base for our 
B-29 bombers. 

The Japanese, naturally, did not want to give it 
up because the loss of Iwo Jima would mean more 
heavy bombing raids against their home islands. 
So they beefed up their defenses by increasing 
their garrison to nearly 23,000 men, who were 
given a "stand-or-die" order and were told that 
there was no hope of rescue or 
reinforcement. Each man was 
expected to fight to the last 
bullet and take as many 
Americans with him as 
possible before he himself died 
for the emperor and for Japan. 

The plan was for the 4th and 
5th Marine Divisions, with the 
3rd Division in reserve, to land 
on the southern beaches to the 
east of Mount Suribachi, take 
the mountain, and move 
inland to capture the airfield, 
all the while pushing the 
Japanese into the northern 
part of the island where they 
could be finished off. 

For three days, starting on 
Feb. 16, 1945, dozens of U.S. 
warships stood off the island 
and barraged every inch of it 
with high explosives, while 
carrier-based fighters hit it 
from the air. After this pound- 
ing, the Marines would go ashore to wipe out any 
opposition that remained. Unfortunately for the 
Marines, though, most of the defenders, safely 
hiding deep in their underground fortress, hadn't 
been wiped out. They were ready and waiting to 
strike back. 

From the 19th to the 24th of February, the 
Marines and Japanese had been slugging it out, 
with no quarter asked and none given. When the 
defenders refused to come out of their fighting 
holes or bunkers, Marines with flamethrowers 
burned them out. It was slaughter on a mass 
scale. The Marines suffered greatly, too. In the 
35-day battle for Iwo Jima, more than 6,800 of the 
30,000 Marines who came ashore were killed, and 
over 19,000 were wounded. It was the greatest 
single loss of life in the Marine Corps' history. 

Joe LaNier was one of the first blacks to 
earn the rank of seaman second class. 

I understand that, of the 22,780-man Japanese 
garrison, only a little more than 200 survived. 
Many committed suicide rather than surrender. 
So brutal was the fighting that, afterwards, Adm. 
Chester Nimitz said, "At Iwo Jima, uncommon 
valor was a common virtue." Twenty-seven Ma- 
rines and sailors were awarded Medals of Honor. 

Black troops on Iwo also performed with brav- 
ery. Two Marines from the all-black 36th Depot 
Company were awarded Bronze Stars. When we 
left our ship and came ashore on the 24th, we dug 
foxholes into the soft, volcanic soil at the base of 
Mount Suribachi. At the top of 
the 500-foot mountain, a squad 
of Marines had planted the U.S. 
flag there the day before, but 
we couldn't see it from where 
we were dug in at the base. 
The fighting was still going on. 
It was so fierce we had to stay 
in our foxholes for days. 

Even after we secured the 
southwestern part of Iwo Jima, 
Japanese soldiers were still 
inside the mountain. They had 
lots of food and water stored 
there, so starving them out 
took a long time. 

The commanding general of 
the Japanese at Iwo, Tadamichi 
Kuribayashi, had been the 
military attache for Japan in 
Washington from 1928 to 1930. 
He had been invited on a 
number of occasions to tour 
U.S. military facilities, so he 
had a good idea of our 
strengths and weaknesses. And that is why the 
island was so well-fortified: bomb-proof pillboxes, 
miles of interconnecting tunnels with multiple 
entrances and exits, large mortar and rocket 
launchers, howitzers, and tank guns on the beach. 
He told his troops to let the enemy land and make 
some small progress, then open up and hit them 
where they stand. They did that. 

Kuribayashi had a rule: "Each man has a duty to 
kill 10 of the enemy before dying. Until we are 
destroyed to the last man, we shall harass the 
enemy with guerrilla tactics." 

The battle, which began with the naval shelling 
and aerial bombardments on Feb. 16, officially 
ended on March 26, although I read somewhere 
that a few Japanese soldiers were found still alive 
on the island several years later. 


The 23rd (Special) Construction Battalion was 
mainly a black stevedoring unit, but even offload- 
ing cargo was a dangerous job on Iwo Jima; you 
never knew when the enemy would lob a mortar 
round or artillery shell into your area. Two of our 
companies received unit citations for performing 
"under extremely hazardous conditions." As far as 
I was concerned, it was all hazardous. There 
wasn't a spot on that island that was safe. 

After the fighting died down a little, we moved 
from our foxholes to tents we set up farther inland. 
Finally, the Marines secured the island, but enemy 
shelling and air raids continued sporadically, and 
Tokyo Rose still broadcast her propaganda to us. 

At that time, I was working in the carpenter 
shop, where we cut the lumber for the floors for 
our tents. Before we left Iwo, however, one humili- 
ating incident occurred. An officer came by and 
was having a conversation with one of the white 
carpenters as I stood 
nearby. The officer had a 
fast speech delivery. As he 
spoke, he realized he was 
not giving the other 
person time to respond. 
He said, "Geez, I'm 
behaving like a nigger." 

Instantly, he realized 
I had heard his remarks. 
I walked away. Later, 
I asked to speak with him, 
and he granted my 
request. I told him how 
humiliated I was to hear 
such a word from an 
officer. He admitted he 

was in error and gave me an apology. It was clear 
to me his apology was real. I felt good that I had 
accepted his apology. I understood no human 
being is perfect. 

By the spring of 1945, Iwo Jima was completely 
secure and America's methodical move to the 
invasion of Japan was continuing. Despite the good 
intentions of some in the armed forces, each 
branch of service was still segregated. Since my 
branch was the Navy, I can only speak to what 
I saw there. All black servicemembers who were in 
the Navy were in all-black units. The one excep- 
tion was Headquarters, which was code for white 
officers and enlisted personnel who interpreted the 
military policy by which the unit operated. 

In all the time I was in the Navy, I met only one 
black chief petty officer, and he was clearly in a 
clerical position. So the entire makeup of Head- 

Black sailors were not 
thought of as "real" sailors. 
I needed to make the best 
of it and be proud of 
whatever contribution I 
made to my country. 

quarters in our unit was white. At that time, there 
was no talk of integrating the armed services. That 
didn't happen until President Truman issued an 
executive order in 1948. 

About the middle of August 1945, we left Iwo 
and sailed for about a month, toward Okinawa. 
When we arrived, about half of the island was 
secure. Compared to Iwo Jima, Okinawa was huge. 
After we got settled, it was time to get our assign- 
ments. I was one of those guys on general duty - 
I did whatever, whenever. 

One time, I was assigned to truck-driving duty 
and was carrying a load of ammunition to the 
front line. When I passed the sentry post, there 
was no one there, so I just kept going. I couldn't 
have been more than 100 yards past the post 
when, suddenly, enemy fire went across my truck. 
I backed out as quickly as I could. By this time, the 
guard was back at the sentry post. I asked him 
why he wasn't there to tell 
me I was going up the wrong 
road. His reply: "I figured 
you'd find out soon enough," 
or words to that effect. 
That is the kind of humor 
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of whatever contribution I made to my country, 
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with my life. I heard about the GI Bill of Rights 
and decided to check it out. On my day off, I went 
back to the main camp and got an explanation. 
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government would pay for tuition, books and 
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served. I could find no reason not to do this. 

Joining the Navy had been the best thing that 
had ever happened to me. I had visited places 
I didn't know existed. I got to travel the world, and 
I enjoyed almost every minute of it. I remember 
how awed I was when, on the way to Iwo Jima, we 
crossed the equator and the international date line. 
I really looked forward to going to Japan, but then 
the war ended. On Dec. 5, 1945, we boarded ship 
to return to the United States. 

I had watched San Francisco drop behind the 
horizon almost two years before, which produced 
fear in me; there was nothing but joy when I saw 
America show up on the horizon as we arrived 
home. In Portland, Ore., we were given our 30-day 
leave the day before New Year's, 1946. I did not 
want to be on a train on New Year's Day, so I 
decided to remain in Portland until after New 
Year's. I met a very nice family that let me stay in 
a spare room until I left on Jan. 2. 

I had a three-hour layover in Denver, another 
place I had never heard of. I went to a drugstore 
that had an ice-cream counter and booths. 
I ordered an ice-cream cone, but I was not sure 
I was welcome to sit. The white female clerk sensed 
my hesitation and suggested that I sit and enjoy my 
cone. I can't tell you what a relief that was. This 
was the first time I had been alone in a city outside 
the South. I also went to a movie, and I saw no 
signs directing me to go upstairs to the seats set 
aside for blacks. (At home, we called the balcony 
the "crows' nest.") And, as I observed the neighbor- 
hoods, I noticed they were washing the streets. 
I had never seen that. I was so impressed, I made 
the decision that after I was discharged I would 
come back to Denver and make it my home. 

After being separated from the Navy on Feb. 2, 
I returned to Mississippi; nothing had changed. 
Total separation of the races was still in force. 
I found myself becoming restless. I spoke with 
Dr. Allen, who operated the lone black drugstore in 
Columbus. I had given some thought to becoming 
a physician, but here I was, almost 20, and I had 
not yet finished the ninth grade. He encouraged 
me to "get with it" and finish high school. I 
enrolled in high school in Holly Springs, Miss. 

The town voter registrar's office was open for 
voting, for what election I don't remember. Having 
served two years in the U.S. Navy, I knew I had a 
right to vote. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision; 
I had no agenda. When I entered the office, 
dressed in my Navy uniform, the white registrar 
seemed surprised to see me. I told her that I want- 
ed to register to vote. In a stern voice she told me, 

"Niggers don't vote," and invited me to leave, 
which I did. I remember thinking, I volunteered for 
the Navy to preserve the right of freedom in this 
country and still I have not earned the right to 
vote. It was a humiliating experience. To this day, 
I cherish the right to cast my vote, and I consider it 
very private. 

After graduating from high school, I enrolled in 
pharmacy school at Xavier University in New 
Orleans in September 1948. I struggled to keep my 
grades up. The nuns knew we black students came 
from inferior high schools, so they put on classes 
at night and on the weekends so we could get 
special help. I took advantage of all the classes 
I needed, because I was behind. 

To graduate, I had to take 27 semester hours my 
senior year, a crushing load. The dean did not 
want me to do that, but I told him I had to finish 
because there was no way I could come back for a 
fifth year. I made better grades that semester than 
I did when I was taking regular hours. That gave 
me an insight into my resolve. 

After graduating, I moved to Denver and was 
pharmacy director at several hospitals, and even 
owned my own drugstore for a while. In 1957, 
I married Eula Inez Long, and we had two wonder- 
ful children, Lisa Downing and Joseph III, now 
grown. Last year, we celebrated 52 years of mar- 
ried life. I was involved in efforts to end discrimi- 
nation in housing in Denver, and I'm pleased to 
say that today everybody can buy and live any- 
where they can afford. As I see it, we as a people, 
as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once put it, must 
learn to judge each other by the content of our 
character rather than by the color of our skin. That 
might very well take longer to achieve than the 
time we have spent on the bumpy road we have 
already traveled. 

I can truthfully say that, as terrible as the war 
was, World War II and my service with the Navy 
provided me with opportunities that I most likely 
would never have experienced otherwise. 

And whenever I see a U.S. flag, I am always 
reminded of the one that was raised on top of a 
mountain on a small, bloody island in the Pacific 
Ocean. And I am grateful. || 

Joe LaNier is a member of American Legion 
Post 1260 in Littleton, Colo. 

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Last spring, a bear hunter spotted two men 
preparing a marijuana field in a secluded 
aspen grove in Wisconsin's Chequamegon- 
Nicolet National Forest. He alerted law 
enforcement, which staked out the grove and 
tailed the men sneaking in supplies and 
sneaking out massive bags of mature plants. 
Authorities also scoured the area from the air with 
the help of Wisconsin and Iowa National Guard 
counterdrug units. Over the next three months, 
they compiled an impressive file of faces and 
places connected to the operation, one of hundreds 
of illegal pot farms that are polluting the back- 
country and endangering hikers, hunters and 
other outdoors enthusiasts. 

The result: an August raid that took down eight 
secret national-forest marijuana plantations in 
Wisconsin, along with a growing operation on a 
nearby Indian reservation and a drug-processing 
house in a small town south of Green Bay. Confis- 
cated were 11,000 marijuana plants, 300 pounds of 
processed pot, a firearms stash, cash and vehicles. 
Thirteen men, most of whom were illegal aliens, 
were arrested. 

It was an especially satisfying victory, says 
David Spakowicz, eastern Wisconsin field opera- 
tions director for the state's Department of Justice. 
"These are the first people we've been able to 
arrest in connection with marijuana-growing 
operations on (Wisconsin) public lands." 

The Wisconsin bust was far from the largest 
national-forest drug haul last year. A July sweep 
of two national forests and three national parks 
in California - including Yosemite - yielded 
605,000 marijuana plants and 6,000 pounds of 
processed pot, plus cocaine, methamphetamine, 
morphine, $84,000 in cash, 64 weapons and 
125 arrests. Even that score, executed with the 
help of 112 members of the California National 
Guard counterdrug program, is a fraction of the 
more than 3 million marijuana plants seized 

annually in national forests and national parks. 
It's all a product of the industrial-strength marijua- 
na-farming juggernaut that Mexican drug-traffick- 
ing organizations have created on public lands to 
satiate America's estimated $25 billion appetite 
for weed. 

"It has increased significantly every year over 
the last decade," says Tracy Perry, deputy director 
of law enforcement and investigations for the 
U.S. Forest Service. "There's marijuana grown on 
most national forests on some level. It's a signifi- 
cant drain on our resources." 

It's also quite destructive. Illicit pot farmers 
are polluting public drinking-water supplies, 
poaching wildlife, and leaving massive quantities 
of garbage and human waste in the backcountry. 
Confrontations between well-armed growers and 
law enforcement, or hikers and hunters, are 
increasingly violent. 

"I let our investigation go on a little bit longer," 
Spakowicz says of the recent Wisconsin bust, "all 
the while fearing a call from the wife of a hunter 
who went out and didn't come back." 

Guerrilla Farming. Growing pot in national forests 
is almost a cultural tradition in some parts of the 
country. Mom-and-pop plots have been grown in 
California since at least the 1960s. Wisconsin's 
weed-cultivating days date back to the first half of 
the 20th century, when it was a top industrial- 
cannabis producer. 

"People had 40 acres of hemp, blessed by the 
state," Spakowicz says. When rope manufacturers 
turned to other fibers, many hemp farmers aban- 
doned their fields, and hearty marijuana plants 
spread, giving rise to a volunteer crop now known 
as "ditch weed." 

By the 1980s, people grew three dozen or four 
dozen plants behind their cornfields or out on the 
back forty. When law enforcement started seizing 
their land, marijuana growers moved their illicit 


crops to unknowing neighbors' 
lands or national forests, an endeav- 
or that became known as "guerrilla 
farming." Local economic condi- 
tions were an influence as well. A 
spike in the number of marijuana 
plots in the Daniel Boone National 
Forest in Kentucky in the late 1980s 
and early 1990s might be blamed on 
the region's poverty and employ- 
ment dependence on swings in the 
coal-mining industry, Perry says. 

Tighter border security in the 
wake of 9/11 prompted Mexican 
drug organizations to rely less on 
smuggling and more on growing 
marijuana inside the United States, 
law-enforcement authorities say. 
These sophisticated drug operations 
established some of their first 
major plantations in national forests 
and parks in California, then 
expanded eastward. To them, it 
made business sense to produce 
pot as close as possible to the 
customers. National forests and 
parks are ideal. The vast, remote acreages offer 
a place for drug organizations to set up camps 
and cultivate cannabis crops without much 
worry of detection. 

Wisconsin is an attractive place to grow 
marijuana farms because it lacks sufficient law 
enforcement to cover massive tracts of state and 
federal land, particularly in the northern half of 
the state. It's also close to Chicago, one of the 
largest drug-distribution hubs in the United States, 
Spakowicz says. And there's a ready market nearby 
among the 30 million people in the surrounding 
five states. 

"Our best guess is it's being consumed in 
Minneapolis, Detroit, Chicago and other large 
metropolitan areas," Spakowicz says. 

Destructive Force. The drug-trafficking groups 
have well-honed techniques for large-scale pot 
farming, right down to tailoring a strain of 
marijuana that thrives in the local climate. In 
Wisconsin, growers appear to have developed 
fast-maturing plants that yield two crops each 
season, Spakowicz says. 

Large-scale operations, however, can cause 
large-scale destruction. Growers have diverted 
streams to irrigate their marijuana plots. They 
have destroyed wildlife habitats, dug garbage pits 

i« out mpm « 

The number of marijuana plants seized from illegally-cultivated 
plots on national-forest lands has skyrocketed in the past decade. 








$5.32 million 




$5.30 million 




$7.09 million 




$7.42 million 




$7.30 million 




$10.40 million 




$11.70 million 




$15.10 million 




$15.40 million 




$15.90 million 

Source: U.S. Forest Service 

and started irrigation reservoirs. They spread 
fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides - even using 
banned toxic chemicals to enhance crop productiv- 
ity. As a result, public drinking-water supplies can 
become polluted for hundreds of miles around 
major marijuana-growing sites, Perry says. 

Cleanup is arduous and costly. Authorities 
hauled 33,000 pounds of trash, 101 propane tanks, 
more than 500 pounds of fertilizer and 33 miles of 
irrigation drip lines off illicit marijuana plantations 
in California's national parks and national forests 
in connection with Operation Trident, the massive 
July drug bust. Rehabilitating land damaged by 
marijuana farming soaks up millions of taxpayer 
dollars each year. 

Law-enforcement encounters with growers 
can be dangerous. The Forest Service has a list of 
gunfire exchanges between growers and law 
enforcers dating back to 1996. Some officers have 
been wounded, but only growers have 
died in the confrontations. Concerns about 
violence are serious enough that 120 National 
Guard military police, who are not part of the 
counterdrug program, provided security for 
civilian law enforcement running roadblocks 
during Operation Trident. 

Backcountry violence involving civilians is 
also rising as the number of illegal growing 


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California, Hawaii, Kentucky, Oregon, Tennessee, 
Washington and West Virginia 

operations increases. The past decade is particu- 
larly telling. In 2001, a father and son on a hunting 
excursion were wounded by growers' gunfire after 
wandering upon a marijuana plot in California's 
Eldorado National Forest. In 2005, three bear 
hunters ended up in a shootout with growers 
after stumbling upon a pot garden in Arizona's 
Tonto National Forest. In August, two Nevada 
outdoorsmen were threatened near a marijuana 
plot where three U.S. Bureau of Land Management 
workers had been held at gunpoint a year earlier. 
The list goes on. 

Some of the violence may be occurring because 
marijuana growers are worried about retaliation 
from drug bosses if a citizen's discovery of a 
pot farm causes them to lose the entire crop, 
Spakowicz says. 

Vital Effort. The National Guard has played a 
significant role in detecting and dismantling these 
illegal growing operations since the governor of 
Hawaii first asked for help with Operation Green 
Harvest in 1977. Other states followed that exam- 
ple, and 32 had similar programs by the time 
Congress authorized the National Guard Counter- 
drug Program in 1989. 

Today, nearly 2,400 members of the Guard 
provide aerial reconnaissance, language skills, 
intelligence analysis, ground transportation and 
other assistance throughout the country, as well 
as in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories. Seven 
states that dominate domestic marijuana farming 
receive the most attention: California, Hawaii, 
Kentucky, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington and 
West Virginia. 

"The National Guard is invaluable to us," says 
Spakowicz, echoing an opinion shared by most top 
law-enforcement officials in the Forest Service. 

The Guard's many specialties include helping 
law enforcement analyze where marijuana is being 
grown on public lands. "It's been an intelligence- 
driven operation the last 10 years," says Col. 
William S. Carle, chief of the National Guard's 
Counterdrug Division. "It cuts down on the 
droning around in the air." 

The Guard still averages 25,000 flying hours 
a year in support of drug-eradication work, but 
is only meeting part of the need. "The requests 
for assistance far exceed the Guard's capacity," 
Carle says. While the national forest pot-farming 
problem has gotten considerably worse, "our 
funding has flatlined." Some 1,600 positions 
with the Guard's Counterdrug Division have 
never been funded. 

National Guard counterdrug efforts also 
involve helping law enforcement deal with the 
sophisticated methamphetamine and prescription- 
drug distribution network that drug-trafficking 
organizations are running. "It's not just about 
interdicting it at the border," Carle says. "Our 
job (also) is to help law enforcement in the 
235 cities where Mexican cartels have active 
drug-trafficking organizations." 

Counterdrug work helps members of the 
Guard sharpen skills they need in a combat zone, 
whether it's flying reconnaissance missions or 
working in partnership with local law enforce- 
ment. "They are going to take these skills to war," 
Carle says. "Nowadays, the terrorists we are 
fighting work the same way drug-trafficking 
organizations do." 

Twenty percent of the Guard's effort goes toward 
demand-reduction programs, ranging from youth 
camps to teaching middle-schoolers how to make 
wise choices. When a young Guardsman who 
served in Iraq or Afghanistan gets in front of 
sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders, he gets their 
attention, Carle says. The Guard focuses on 
alternative schools, schools with gangs and schools 
with children from military families, among 
others. The program reached 165,000 students 
last year. 

"Somebody needs to work on the demand side," 
Carle says. "We're the only ones in the military 
doing that nationally. We look at this as our 
responsibility. (Otherwise), who's going to be the 
Guardsmen in the future?" || 

Ken Olsen is a frequent contributor to 
The American Legion Magazine. 


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'Not for his sake, 

Blessed by the Great War's last living veteran, 
restoration is now well under way. 


Frank Buckles nearly tumbled out of his 
wheelchair as he made his way along the crum- 
bling stone walkway leading to the District of 
Columbia War Memorial on the National Mall in 
Washington. Algae had turned green the once- 
white dome of the memorial. Invasive plants had 
overtaken the open grove around it. 

Buckles was one of a few who ever visited it. 
Little existed in the way of signs pointing tourists 
to the site, built by residents of the nation's 
capital in 1931 to honor the nearly 500 people 
from the district who lost their lives in World 
War I. 

The last surviving U.S. veteran of the Great 
War, Buckles turned to a friend advocating for 
funding to restore the memorial and said, "Let's 
do it." 

If the West Virginia resident, who turns 110 
years old this month, made it back to the site 
today, he'd see that the memorial makeover is 
well under way. Last August, the National Park 
Service began a $2.28 million restoration proj- 
ect - including new signs - scheduled to be 
completed in about a year (the American Recov- 
ery and Reinvestment Act provided the funding). 
Buckles no longer does media interviews, but his 
daughter, Susannah Flanagan, knows exactly 
how he would react. 

"He would say, 'It's about time! I'm glad they 
did something before it fell apart,'" Flanagan 
says. "Everyone but him has passed away, and he 
appreciates what the memorial stands for - not 
for his sake, but for theirs." 

More good news may be on the way for Buckles 
and his daughter: a consensus bill introduced in 
the 111th Congress would have provided greater 
recognition for the D.C. War Memorial, while also 
enhancing the status of the Liberty Memorial and 
its museum in Kansas City, Mo. The compromise 
among a range of supporters of each site, both 

seeking national stature, would have designated 
both as "national" memorials. The D.C. War 
Memorial would have become the District of 
Columbia and National World War I Memorial, 
and the Kansas City destinations would have 
been known as the National World War I Memo- 
rial and Museum. 

"The millions of Americans who served their 
country bravely in World War I deserve to be 
recognized for their sacrifice," says co-sponsor 
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. "The proposed 
compromise, with bipartisan support from all 
sides of the issue, would provide World War I 
veterans with a fitting tribute - both in Kansas 
City with a national memorial and museum at the 
Liberty Memorial, which has long stood with the 
grandeur and stature of a memorial that honors 
all World War I vets, and also by expanding the 
meaning of the District of Columbia World War I 
memorial on the Mall to give it a national scope 
befitting of its location in our nation's capital and 
acknowledging the fact that all World War I vets 
should be honored alongside veterans of our 
other great wars." McCaskill and her co-sponsors 
"remain committed" to getting the bill passed in 
the 112th Congress. 

The American Legion's National Executive 
Committee passed a resolution in October endors- 
ing legislation that unites several different bills 
relating to the memorials in each city. 

"This is a good compromise," says Jack Quer- 
feld, the Legion's director of Internal Affairs. "We 
believe the increased recognition will mean that 
more people visiting the Mall in Washington will 
see the D.C. memorial, and that a lot of people 
will travel to the heartland in Missouri to see the 
memorial and monument there." 

The bill would have also established a commis- 
sion of 24 members to ensure a proper obser- 
vance of the World War I centennial in 2014. The 


president, the Senate, the 
House, The American 
Legion, Veterans of 
Foreign Wars and the 
Liberty Memorial Asso- 
ciation could each appoint 
members to the body. 

The key to passing any 
good piece of legislation, 
though, always rests with developing a strong 
coalition - something that past Department of the 
District of Columbia Commander Thomas Kou- 
yeas called for in a 2008 story in The American 
Legion Magazine. Attorney Edwin Fountain was 
one of many people who sought to add muscle to 
the effort, helping to form the World War I 
Memorial Foundation. It advocates for D.C. War 
Memorial restoration funding and greater recog- 
nition for the site, and endorses the compromise. 

"It's unconventional to have two national 
memorials, but there's no reason why this can't 
be done," says Fountain, who currently serves on 
the foundation's board of directors. "These 
memorials are very important. A lot of people 
don't realize that more Americans died in World 
War I than in Korea and Vietnam combined, but 
those wars have a greater place in our national 
consciousness. You can't understand those wars 
or really understand the history of the 20th 
century without understanding World War I." 

President Calvin Coolidge had even higher 
hopes for such recognition when he dedicated the 
Liberty Memorial on Armistice Day in 1926. 

"It has not been raised to commemorate war 
and victory, but rather the results of war and 
victory, which are embodied in peace and 
liberty," he said in a speech that mentioned his 
being on hand five years earlier when the Le- 
gion's convention participated in groundbreaking 
ceremonies. "In its impressive symbolism, it 

Ron Chappie 

pictures the story of that one increasing purpose 
declared by the poet to mark all the forces of the 
past which finally converge in the spirit of 
America in order that our country as 'the heir of 
all the ages, in the foremost files of time,' may 
forever hold aloft the glowing hope of progress 
and peace to all humanity." 

The prospect for peace is also very much 
on Susannah Flanagan's mind as she reflects 
on what memorials to her father's war mean 
to her. 

"These memorials are places where people 
walk around and learn history," she says. 
"As people are remembering these things and 
remembering the fallen, I would hope we learn to 
avoid repeating the mistakes that lead to wars." 

Keep track of the latest developments on the 
D.C. War Memorial at the World War I Memorial 


Read The American Legion's resolution supporting 
the national legislation: 

(§1 www. ts/resolutions/ 

Christopher Lancette is a Washington-area 
freelance writer who often writes about 
U.S. history. Read more at his blog site, 
dcref lections, typepad. com. 




^In case the enemy 
attacks our territory and 
people again, we will 
thoroughly retaliate to 
ensure that the enemy 
cannot provoke again? 5 

Kim Kwan-jin, presidential 
nominee for defense minister of 
South Korea, after North Korea shelled 
the island of Yeonpyeong 
on Nov. 23, killing four 

We paid 
$50 to hold 
our spot 
while we went and 
had Thanksgiving?* 5 

Kahdysja Semien of California, 
on her strategy for getting the most 
out of Black Friday shopping. 
By 2 a.m., she was back in line. 

^If indeed it is the case, as 
alleged by the Pentagon, 
that the young soldier - 
Bradley Manning - is 
behind some of our recent 
disclosures, then he is 
without doubt an 
unparalleled hero?** 

Julian Assange, founder of Wiki Leaks 

"if you have an 18- or 
19-year-old over there, you 
want to get your hands on 
this private first class 
yourself. I know I do.^ 

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., 
advocating a potential charge of 
capital treason for Manning 

"We can't just leave it up 
to the parents.*** 5 

First Lady Michelle Obama, 

at the signing of the Healthy, Hunger- 
Free Kids Act, a law that will subsidize 
and regulate what children eat before, 
during and after school in federally 
funded school-based meal programs 

Sources: AP, NPR, The Guardian, CBS, Fox News 


Bans, fines and jail time 

How other countries are tackling the challenge of illegal immigration 


According to Fragomen, an international law firm specializing 
in immigration, "a foreign national entering or living in 
France without complying with appropriate work and 
residency authorization is subject to imprisonment for up to one year and/or a 
fine of €3,750 ($5,227). He or she may also be prohibited from entering France 
for a maximum period of three years." 

In addition, those who assist illegal immigrants "are subject to a more severe 
punishment of imprisonment of up to five years and/or a fine up to €30,000 
($41,823)." France has been deadly serious about illegal immigration in recent 
years, drawing the ire of its European Union neighbors for rounding up and 
deporting thousands of so-called Roma immigrants, also known as Gypsies. In 
2009, 10,000 Roma were deported. 


In 2010, Italy approved a tough set of laws to curb illegal 
immigration. Under the new laws, as the BBC reports, 
persons guilty of illegally entering the country can be fined 
up to €10,000 ($13,941) and detained for up to six months. Those who knowingly 
shelter illegal immigrants can face up to three years in prison. The law also 
empowers citizens' patrols to police entry zones. Finally, it requires parents to 
produce documents proving they are legal residents when registering the 
births of their children. 



People's Republic of China 

Those who fail to comply with China's immigration laws are 
detained and then expelled from China, according to 
Fragomen. In response to a recent surge in undocumented 
workers from Vietnam, China has set up detention houses near the border. 
According to the newspaper China Daily, border police arrested 1,820 illegal 
immigrants, intercepted 4,839 at the border and deported 2,218 - all in the first 
four months of 2010. 

Saudi Arabia 

"Individuals who violate Saudi immigration laws may be 
subject to severe fines," Fragomen reports. Other likely 
punishments include detention, deportation at the expense 
of the guilty party or his employer, imprisonment, and/or a ban from re-entry 
into the country. 


Michael Waller of the Center for Security Policy reports that 
Mexico's immigration laws are much stricter than U.S. 
immigration laws. According to Waller, the Mexican 
constitution bans immigrants and foreign visitors from public political 
discourse, bars immigrants and naturalized citizens from most public-service 
positions, authorizes private citizens to arrest illegal immigrants and turn them 
over to the authorities, and allows the government to expel immigrants for any 
reason and without due process. 

In addition, Waller reports that foreigners are admitted only after proving 
they have "the necessary funds for their sustenance" and only if their presence 
does not disturb "the equilibrium of the national demographics." 

According to Fragomen, "Employers that violate Mexican immigration laws 
are subject to fines of up to 100 times the minimum wage . . . Foreign nationals 
who violate the terms of their stay in Mexico are subject to deportation." 



Basra boomtown 

Basra, once a hotbed of 
militia activity, has become an 
Iraqi boomtown thanks to oil 
development in the region, 
The Wall Street Journal reports. 

■ Eleven new investment licenses 
worth $500 million have gone to 
foreign and domestic firms. 

■ Iraq has earmarked $1.4 billion to build four new oil-export terminals and 
pipelines to increase output and shipping capacity. 

■ A consortium of international firms has raised daily oil output in the 
Basra fields to 1.1 million barrels. 

■ Iraq has raised its estimated reserve levels to 143 billion barrels, up from 
115 billion. 

In light of the successes in and around Basra, according to the report, Iraq 
hopes to boost "output capacity from the current 2.5 million barrels a day to 
12 million barrels a day in less than a decade. That would be a feat unrivaled in the 
history of the modern oil era." 


UN vs. UAVs 

Officials at the United 
Nations are calling for the u.s .Air Fore 

creation of a special panel to examine "the ethics and legality of unmanned 
military weapons," The Washington Post reports. 

"The international community urgently needs to address the legal, political, 
ethical and moral implications of the development of lethal robotic 
technologies," says Christof Heyns, a U.N. official specializing in the investigation 
of extrajudicial executions. With an obvious, if tacit, nod to the U.S. use of drones 
in Afghanistan, Heyns says the United Nations should address "the fundamental 
question of whether lethal force should ever be permitted to be fully automated." 


Veteran lawmakers 

All of the ballots have been 
counted, and the freshman 
class of the 112th Congress, 
which was sworn in last 
month, includes 25 military 
veterans. Twenty-two serve 
in the House, and 
three in the 


Major troop-contributing nations in Afghanistan 

Afghan National Army 


Afghan National Police 


United States 

























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Impact on the World' - Reagan's legacy honored 

The National Archives 


Legion, National Forensic 
League team up 

With nearly 160 successful years of speech and debate 
competitions between them, The American Legion and 
the National Forensic League (NFL) have agreed to join 
forces to provide additional opportunities for students 
interested in forensic arts. 

The NFL annually conducts tournaments in debate, 
public speaking and interpretation for more than 112,000 
high-school students representing 2,800 U.S. schools. 
Because of the NFL's network of school contacts and 
well-known speech and debate activities, the Legion is 
confident the partnership will help the Oratorical Contest 
gain exposure among teachers and students. 

American Legion department Oratorical chairmen will 
work closely with the NFL's 106 district representatives to 
encourage students to participate in the program. Also, 
the top three finishers in the National Oratorical Contest 
will earn a berth in "Original Oration," a category in the 
NFL's National Speech and Debate Tournament in Dallas 
from June 13-18. There, the champions will present 
10-minute speeches on topics of their choice and 
compete for more than $200,000 in college scholarships. 

"Both organizations have a long history of providing 
wonderful, profound educational opportunities for 
young people," said Adam Jacobi, the NFL's education 
and programs coordinator. "We questioned why we 
haven't been doing this all along, since both programs 
are complementary and the cross-pollination between 
the NFL and The American Legion is going to strengthen 
kids' communication." 


This month marks the 100th anniversary of President 
Ronald Reagan's birthday, and throughout the year 
organizations will remember and honor the 40th president. 

As The Los Angeles Times reports, an effort is under way to 
name a Nevada mountain range after Reagan. A Reagan- 
themed float was part of the Rose Parade on Jan. 1. Reagan's 
hometown of Dixon, III., has commissioned an original piece 
of music, the "Reagan Suite." Eureka College, Reagan's alma 
mater, has launched a program focusing on his Midwestern 
roots. The school has also created a Reagan Centennial 
Speaker Series. The University of Virginia is hosting a 
program on Reagan's "Impact on the World." In London, a 
statue of Reagan will be unveiled. 

The Reagan Centennial is supported by a bipartisan 
commission charged with identifying ways to celebrate 
Reagan's legacy. In keeping with his philosophy, none of the 
celebrations or programs will spend federal tax dollars. 



New PUFL members receive 
challenge coins 

The American Legion has launched a campaign to 
increase the number of Paid Up For Life members, issuing 
challenge coins to those participating in the PUFL program. 

When new PUFL members receive the challenge coin in 
the mail, they'll also get a letter from National Commander 
Jimmie Foster thanking them - and challenging them to 
recruit another new PUFL member. Once a new PUFL 
membership is paid, either in full or through the 36-month 
payment-plan option, a packet is mailed to the member that 
includes a PUFL membership card and a PUFL lapel/cap pin. 

Legionnaires who recruit 10 new PUFL members will 
receive a polo shirt and a certificate. Those who recruit 25 
new PUFL members will receive a master PUFL recruiter 
Legion cap. The overall top PUFL recruiter will receive an 
all-expense-paid trip to the 93rd National Convention in 
Minneapolis, where he or she will be recognized on stage. 

The six departments with the highest PUFL totals will be 
recognized. Winners will receive $1,000, and the department 
commanders will be recognized during the convention. 

To download a PUFL application or recruiter form: 




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'It's the least I can do' 

Actor Gary Sinise gives his time and 
talents to entertain wounded warriors. 


He's perhaps best known for his Oscar-nominated role as 
Lt. Dan Taylor - the man with "magic legs" - in "Forrest 
Gump." He has received acclaim for supporting roles in 
"Ransom," "Apollo 13" and "The Green Mile." He's also the 
star ofTVVCSI: New York." 

But since 2003, Gary Sinise and his Lt. Dan Band have 
entertained U.S. servicemembers and their families 
throughout the world, performing on many USO tours. 
Sinise also visits military hospitals, greeting wounded 
servicemembers and their families. On Dec. 12, he and his Lt. 
Dan Band performed at the welcome reception for Road to 
Recovery - an event sponsored by The American Legion and 
the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes - at Walt Disney 
World's Swan Resort in Florida. 

Prior to an afternoon sound check, Sinise talked to The 
American Legion about his support of the U.S. military. 

Q: You've played at five Road to Recovery events. How 
did you first get involved? 

A: I got involved in 2004 when the Coalition was just getting 
started, and that was just a couple years after I started to 
actively support our military and our veterans. I had been 
involved with Vietnam veterans groups prior to that, but 
after Sept. 11, when we started deploying our troops to 
Afghanistan and Iraq, I just wanted to pitch in and help. 
Various folks would approach me all the time, asking me to 
come and support something they were doing or getting 
started. At the first conference, somebody who knew me 
and knew what I was doing contacted me. 

Q: What keeps you coming back year after year? 

A: They're doing good stuff for our wounded heroes. I just 
want to help them do more. I don't do all that much 
throughout the year, but I donate my band for the 
conference and do various PSAs to help them promote what 
they're doing. 

Q: Why is the Lt. Dan Band's mission important to you? 

A: The band is part of a broader mission to do what I can to 
help keep these servicemembers and their families strong in 
difficult times for our country. It's very clear, if you're paying 
attention, that it's a very dangerous world, and it does not 
look like it's going to get less dangerous as time goes on. So 
we're going to continue to call on our defenders to do 
difficult and dangerous work around the world to prevent 
another very serious attack on our homeland. You saw on 
Sept. 11 what 19 men with box cutters could do. These 
defenders are out there, around the world, to make sure it 
doesn't happen again. They are serving and sacrificing, and 
their families are going through very difficult times. I value 
the freedom I have in this country, and that freedom has 

Actor Gary Sinise brings children on stage while performing 
with the Lt. Dan Band at the sixth annual Road to Recovery 
Conference & Tribute at Walt Disney World's Swan Resort. 

been paid for by others. It's the least I can do to go out there 
and visit the hospitals - entertain them here and abroad, lift 
their morale. That's one way I can give back. 

Q: Visiting hospitals, you've talked one-on-one with 
wounded troops. What was your impression of them? 

A: What makes somebody want to go to war, to join the 
military, especially in a time when they know there's a 
95-percent chance they're going to be deployed to 
someplace dangerous? Those are special individuals, and 
we're lucky to have them. We have over 300 million people 
in our country, and it's like 0.5 percent of the population 
actually defends our country in military service. You need 
these folks, and I've met thousands of them over the years. 
It's always humbling and impressive. 

Q: Regardless of political views or stances on the war, 
does the American public have a responsibility to 
support its servicemembers? 

A: Sure. Is there a president in the past 100 years who hasn't 
had to deploy our military somewhere? No. Every one of 
them has had to face some serious threat. We all like to say, 
"Hey, let's just hope military conflict away. Let's just wish it 
all away." Sometimes we have to face the reality that military 
deployment is the only thing to do. We who benefit from 
the freedom that we have and from the defenders who are 
on the front lines owe it to these folks to try to at least show 
our gratitude and our appreciation. 

Q: What's coming up for the Lt. Dan Band? 

A: Right now we have almost 20 shows set up between 
February and May, and probably 12 of those are for the 
troops somewhere. I'm on my television show, but I try to fit 
in as many weekend shows on bases as I can. I've played so 
many concerts that I can't say the number of them anymore. 

Steve B. Brooks is multimedia editor for The American Legion. 



Financial Footlocker: Send us your questions 

J.J.: Thanks to the exciting new relationship between 
The American Legion and USAA, June and I now have the 
opportunity to answer your personal-finance 
questions online at and each 
month in The American Legion Magazine. 

Before we get to that, we thought we'd use 
this opportunity to briefly introduce ourselves. 
Ladies usually go first, but I'll take my shot and 
then turn it over to June. 

I'm Joseph Montanaro Jr. - "J.J." - and have 
been a certified financial planner at USAA for the 
past eight years. I'm a native of Kansas City and 
the son of a Navy pilot. I graduated from the U.S. 
Military Academy and spent five years on active duty. I was 
excited to join the financial-services industry in 1993 while 
continuing to serve in the Army Reserve. In 2005, 1 deployed 
to Afghanistan, and in 2009 I retired as a lieutenant colonel. 

As a married father of three and a student of history, I've 
got a lot to share. Through the years, I've helped hundreds 
of individuals and families get a handle on their finances. I 
continue to work with USAA members on a daily basis and 
am always encouraging folks to make sound financial 


June: I'm June Walbert. I'm not your average financial 
planner - not to say that J.J. is, but I've done everything 
from training folks as a firearms instructor to 
teaching clients about options strategies as a 
stockbroker before taking my spot as a financial 
planner at USAA. As a lieutenant colonel in the 
Army Reserve, I've served in a variety of roles, 
from Oklahoma City to Kuwait and currently in 
Japan. While I continue to work with USAA 
members, I get the biggest kick out of 
trumpeting smart finances to large audiences, 
whether it's CNN, Fox News, The Wall Street 
Journal or in the Legion's own "Magazine for a 
Strong America." You should also know that I have a special 
place in my heart for dogs and spend a lot of time 
volunteering at the Animal Defense League. So mention 
your furry friend, and you'll get extra-special care from me. 

Whether it's how to tackle your debt dilemma or ramping 
up for retirement, we look forward to putting our combined 
31 years of financial experience to work for you who have 
served our great nation so proudly. We'd love to hear from 
you, so submit your questions online at 


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'In the Company of Heroes' 

Valor Studios /Matt Hall 

"In the Company of Heroes" is a painting rooted in more 
than just visual artist Matt Hall's masterful creativity - the 
event portrayed actually happened. 

In December 2004, Valor Studios, an art and magazine 
publisher, funded a charitable trip to bring six veterans of 
Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st 
Airborne Division - the famed "Band of Brothers" - to 
Germany to meet 1st Armored Division troops who had 
recently returned from Iraq. 

On the 60th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, the 
group traveled to Bastogne to revisit the veterans' old 
foxholes with their younger counterparts. But on the way to 
Bastogne, the tour's host had arranged for the veterans to 

visit Luxembourg American Cemetery, where their fallen 
comrades are buried. "In the Company of Heroes" depicts 
the hallowed moment. 

Walking through a sea of crosses and Stars of David, the 
veterans came to the headstones of their buddies to pay 
tribute. They later agreed that it was their most poignant 
gathering since they left Europe in 1945. 

Upon returning from the trip, the veterans were eager to 
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Legion wins fight for Post-9/11 Gl Bill fixes 

A concentrated lobbying effort by The American Legion 
and other veterans service organizations led to Senate 
passage of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance 
Improvements Act of 2010 on Dec. 13. The legislation calls for 
expansion and improvement of federal college benefits for 
veterans who served in the U.S. military on or after 9/11. A 
House vote on a similar measure was expected to follow. 

"This is great news," American Legion National 
Commander Jimmie Foster said. "This bill rectifies the 
inequities and shortcomings of the well-intentioned but 
incomplete Post-9/11 Gl Bill, and makes it whole." 

The new bill would add financial assistance for veterans 
pursuing vocational training and those in distance-learning 
programs. Under the 2008 bill, federal financial assistance is 
available only to veterans attending degree-granting 
colleges and universities. Benefits would also extend to 
include certain members of the National Guard and reserves 

who did not qualify for college aid under the 
earlier version. Under the improvements act, 
students would also receive an annual 
textbook allowance. 

Bob Madden, assistant director of the 
Legion's Economic Division, testified before 
the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee in 
July and strongly urged support for many of 
the provisions that were ultimately included 
in the new measure. Foster emphasized the 
importance of the "fix-it" bill during his 
testimony before a joint session of 
Congress shortly after he took office in 
September, saying, "The American Legion 
urges enhancement to the Post-9/11 Gl Bill 
that would give veterans a more robust 
educational benefit." 


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Child Welfare Foundation awards 
$666,670 for 2011 

The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation has announced its 
grant recipients for 2011, awarding $666,670 to 21 nonprofit organizations. 
Approved during the CWF's annual board of directors meeting in 
Indianapolis on Oct. 10, the grants will support projects that benefit the 
physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being of children. 

The 2011 grant recipients include: 

■ American Academy of Pediatrics of Elk Grove Village, III., received 
$14,725 to produce a supplement to the Pediatrics journal to provide 
pediatricians with an overview of the role of the pediatrician in military 
medicine. Sons of The American Legion sponsored this grant. 

■ Child Find of America, Inc., of Highland, N.Y., received $45,000 to 
produce and disseminate outreach materials targeted to U.S. military 
dads and moms. American Legion Auxiliary sponsored this grant. 

■ Kansas Braille Transcription Institute of Wichita, Kan., received $6,500 
to distribute 1,000 education packets on the tactile/Braille U.S. flag to 
blind students nationwide via the National Organization of Parents of 
Blind Children. American Legion Auxiliary and SAL sponsored this grant. 

■ Our Military Kids of McLean, Va., received $50,100 to create video and 
information brochures for prospective grantee families and donors. 
American Legion Auxiliary and SAL sponsored this grant. 

■ The American Legion of Fultondale, Ala., received | mageSm 
$12,000 to purchase copies of 'The Crippled 
Lamb" for pediatric units in Alabama 
hospitals. SAL sponsored this grant. 

■ Young Marines of Washington / ., 
received $40,808 to expand its 
drug-demand reduction-program kits 
to youths in more than 
300 communities. 

For more information on CWF 
or how to donate: 



Post-9/11 Gl Bill benefits not taxable 

Q: / currently attend the University of Wyoming. I 
have been receiving the Post-9/11 Gl Bill education 
benefits, and was wondering if they are taxable. 

A: No, any veterans benefit paid under any law 
administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs 
should not be reported as income to the Internal 
Revenue Service. 

Per IRS Publication 970, "Payments you receive for 
education, training, or subsistence under any law 
administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs 
(VA) are tax free. Do not include these payments as income on your 
federal tax return." 

Valerie Vigil, a Marine Corps veteran and member of American Legion Post 27 
in Arizona, is a past vice president of the National Association of Veterans' 
Programs Administrators. Send Gl Bill questions to her by e-mail. 







"By resolution, our membership is opposed 
to illegal immigration into this country. We 
don't understand why so many members of 
Congress feel compelled to provide for 
amnesty for a portion of illegal immigrants 
before securing our borders and tackling 
the broken immigration system. 

"Our states and communities are struggling 
to meet the needs of tomorrow's 
generation, forcing increased tuitions and 
fees on those already attending. So why is 
Congress putting even more pressure on 
the universities and colleges by pushing 
these children into our already crowded 

"Action upon the DREAM Act, a stopgap 
piece of legislation that deals with one 
symptom of the problem, doesn't address 
the underlying issues such as employment, 
pathways to citizenship, and securing the 

American Legion National Commander Jimmie Foster, 
on the DREAM Act of 2010, which passed the House of 
Representatives on Dec. 8 but was blocked in the Senate. 
The bill would grant "conditional non-immigrant status" to 
those who entered the United States illegally before their 
16th birthday and have been here at least five years. To 
qualify for the bill's provisions, they would also need to 
have a high-school diploma, be enrolled in a college or 
university, or be a servicemember for at least two years. 


Post 80, Trout Lake, Minn. 

Chartered Nov. 23 (16 members) 

Post 138, Scottsdale, Ariz. 

Chartered Nov. 10 (19 members) 

Smith Mountain Lake Post 62, Moneta, 

Va. Chartered Oct. 22 (18 members) 

Snead Memorial Post 818, Snead, Ala. 

Chartered Oct. 18 (27 members) 


Debt clock 

As of mid-December, the global 
public debt was more than 
$40 trillion. The U.S. share 
was $1.26 trillion. 




Free evaluation for 
veteran business owners 

Business owners have several 
responsibilities this month, including 
tax filings and planning this year's 
business-growth strategy. 
Gathering your quarterly deposits, 





sales and 
revenue data, 
and compiling 
will take a lot 
of time - time 
you need to 
work on 
new sales. 
Fortunately, veterans can get a free 
business evaluation that will help 
them achieve success in 2011. This 
evaluation will take a business' 
snapshot, and compare it to industry 
standards as well as to similar 
businesses in the local area. Also, it 
will help veterans determine where 
they need to put more emphasis, and 
where they might put less. Such 
evaluations are essential to business 
growth and can save thousands of 
dollars over the course of the year. 
This service is being donated to 
veterans free of charge. Those 
interested in participating should 
contact me by e-mail (see below). 

Also, there are changes this year 
regarding deductions. Take full 
advantage of deductions to which 
you are entitled, and plan accordingly 
for the purchase of products and/or 
services that may no longer qualify 
for deductions. 

If you are self-employed, know that 
the IRS counts you as a small business. 
You will need to file a Schedule C or 
Schedule C-EZ to properly account for 
your income. Taxes are complicated: 
don't try to do them on your own. 
Visit, start 
working with your bookkeeper and 
accountant now, and if you have 
questions, ask them early. 

Louis J. CelliJr. is CEO of the Veterans 
Business Resource Center. Readers can 
send questions for "On Point" to 



The Brownsburg, Ind.-based Alliance Motorsports team will again display the 
Blue Star Banner on its 24 car for the 2011 Firestone Indy Lights Series racing 
season. Called the "Fast Track to Indy," the series includes 11 oval, road and 
street events, including the Firestone Freedom 100 at Indianapolis 
Motor Speedway on May 27. 


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How to submit a reunion 

The American Legion Magazine pub- 
lishes reunion notices for veterans. 
Send notices to The American Legion 
Magazine, Attn: Reunions, P.O. Box 
1055, Indianapolis, IN 46206, fax 
(317) 630-1280, e-mail 
or submit information via our Web site, 

Include the branch of service and complete 
name of the group, no abbreviations, with your 
request. The listing also should include the 
reunion dates and city, along with a contact 
name, telephone number and e-mail address. 
Listings are publicized free of charge. 

Your notice will appear on our Web site within 
a weekand will remain available online until 
the final day of your reunion. Upon submission, 
please allow three months for your reunion to 
be published in print. Due to the large number 
of reunions, The American Legion Magazine 

will publish a group's listing only once a year. 

Notices should be sent at least six months prior 
to the reunion to ensure timely publication. 

Other notices 

"In Search Of" is a means of getting in touch 
with people from your unit to plan a reunion. We 
do not publish listings that seek people for 
interviews, research purposes, military pho- 
tos or help in filing a VA claim. Listings must 
include the name of the unit from which you seek 
people, the time period and the location, as well 
as a contact name, telephone number and e-mail 
address. Send notices to The American Legion 
Magazine, Attn: "In Search Of," P.O. Box 1055, 
Indianapolis, IN 46206, fax (317) 630-1280 or 

The magazine will not publish names of indi- 
viduals, only the name of the unit. Listings are 
published free of charge. 

Life Membership notices are published for 
Legionnaires who have been awarded life mem- 

berships by their posts. This does not include a 
member's own Paid-Up-For-Life membership. 

Notices must be submitted on official forms, 
which may be obtained by sending a self- 
addressed stamped envelope to The American 
Legion Magazine, Attn: Life Memberships, P.O. 
Box 1055, Indianapolis, IN 46206. 

"Comrades in Distress" listings must be 
approved by the Legion's Veterans Affairs & 
Rehabilitation division. If you are seeking to verify 
an injury received during service, contact your 
Legion department service officer for informa- 
tion on how to publish a notice. 

To respond to a "Comrades in Distress" listing, 
send a letter to The American Legion Magazine, 
Attn: Comrades in Distress, P.O. Box 1055, 
Indianapolis, IN 46206. Include the listing's CID 
number in your response. 

"Taps" notices are published only for Legion- 
naires who served as department commanders 
or national officers. 


1st Fit Det (Nha Trang AB, Vietnam), Las 

Vegas, 4/11-15, Roger Gibson, (228) 209-1180,; 22nd TCS (Tachikawa, 
Japan) & 22nd MAS, Biloxi, MS, 5/10-12, Henry 
Trujillo, (719) 545-4156,; 
67th Tact Recon Wing (All Units), Lancaster, 
PA, 5/9-13, Holly Faux, (570) 698-5543, fauxhr@; 444th Ftr Interceptor, Charleston, 
SC, 4/18-21, Wallace Mitchell, (803) 464-6806; 
502nd Tact Cont Grp 605th, 606th, 607th & 
608th AC&W Sqdns (Korea), Biloxi, MS, 4/30-5/4, 
Bill Aylward, (703) 715-0448, waylward1@; 601st, 61 5th Aircraft Cont & 
Warning Sqdns (Germany), Biloxi, MS, 5/1-6, 
Francis Gosselin, (352) 588-9295, fgosselin@; 6911th Electronic Security 
Sqdn Metro Tango (Hahn AFB, 1980), Colorado 
Springs, CO, 6/16-19, Cherish Shinners, (828) 
256-6008,; AF Public 
Affairs Alumni Assn, Fairfield, CA, 5/12-14, 
John Terino, (703) 239-2704, johnterino@; Navigator Observer Assn, Las 
Vegas, 9/6-9, Jimmy Bannerman, (386) 257-3853, 


2nd Bn 34th Armd "The Dreadnaughts," 
(Vietnam, 1 966-1 970), Nashvil le, TN, 5/26-29, 
Rick Welch, (615) 491-9585, richardwelch513@; 2nd Inf Div Assn, St. Louis, 8/25-29, 
Bob Haynes, (224) 225-1202, 2idahq@comcast. 
net; 4th Bn 39th Inf 9th Inf Div (Fort Riley, KS 
& Vietnam, 1 966-1 967), Salt Lake City, 6/23-25, 
Jim Haines, (303) 809-1815,; 
6/502nd Inf Berlin Bde (1989-1996), Atlanta, 
6/9-12, Stefan Morgan, (828) 256-6008, berlinbri-; 73rd Tank Bn & 73rd 
Armd, Pigeon Forge, TN, 5/11-15, Curtis Banker, 
(518) 643-2302,; 
86th Chem Mortar Bn Assn, Nashville, 5/4-8, 
George Murray, (256) 820-4415; 99th Sig Bn C 
Co, Gainesville, TX, 4/15-17, Vincent Luciano, (520) 
326-3745; 101st Abn Div, Lexington, KY, 8/17-20, 
Dee Dallas, (931) 431-0199, 101exec@comcast. 
net; 109th MP Co (Frankfurt, Germany), 
Tucson, AZ, 4/28-5/1, Rob Fetters, (602) 405-3182,; 371st Inf Rgt 93rd 
Div (WWI), Columbia, SC, 8/26-29, Sonya Hodges, 
(803) 556-2643,; 
585th Eng Co (Vietnam), San Antonio, 5/1-4, 
Tom Garney, (480) 982-7114; 591st Eng Co LE 
Vets Assn, Branson, MO, 7/10-14, Ken Kiel, (414) 
529-7731,; 629th Ord Supply 
Parts (Qui Nhon, Vietnam), San Antonio, 6/9-12, 
Gary Matthews, (712) 485-2422, gmatt41347@; 8605th AAU 5th ASA FS, Det 5, 2nd 
Sig Svc Bn, Jacksonville, FL, 4/7-1 0, Dick Dixon, 
(601) 485-7567; Mid-Atlantic Chpt 11th Abn Div 
Assn, 11th Air Assault Div 7, 187th Abn RgtCbt 
Team (ARCT), Myrtle Beach, SC, 2/2-3/2, Herbert 
Shapiro, (410) 827-6410, hlshap@atlanticbb. 
net; Pit 1108 "Hoosier Pit" (San Diego), 

Spencer, IN, 6/4-5, Steve Haisley, (847) 367-8927,; QM OCS 66-16 Graduating 
Class, Prince George, VA, 7/19-21, Ron Demery, 
(417) 317-2670,; Sig C 
OCS Assn, Washington, 10/13-16, Robert Kerns, 
(615) 391-0867, 


USCGCEasfwi7ic/W279, South Portland, ME, 
6/16-19, LeRoy Grant, (603) 447-6040, junelee.1@ 


Patau CVE 122 & USMC Air Sqdn, Myrtle Beach, 
SC, 5/1-4, Harry Weldy, (410) 658-6043, hweldy@; Udorn Royal Thai AFB, 

Thailand, Mount Pleasant, Ml, 7/24-26, Jerry 
Long, (817) 594-4623, 


1st Warrant Officer Class, Biloxi, MS, 3/7-11, 
Charles Long, (321) 633-6178,; 
Honor Pit 141 (MCRD San Diego, 1967), 
Washington, 11/10-12, Jay Grams, (616) 291-9023,; Kilo Co 3rd Bn 7th Mar Rgt 
(Vietnam), Appleton, Wl, 8/4-7, William Rolke, 
(262) 780-0993,; Old Glory Pit 
350 (MCRD Colorado, 1960), Colorado Springs, 
CO, 6/14-16, William Smith, (719) 930-5651,; Vietnam Tankers & 
Ontos, San Diego, 8/17-21, John Wear, (215) 
794-9052,; VMA(AW) 225 
(Da Nang, Vietnam, 1969-1970), Washington, 
5/19-22, Tim Murphy, (703) 980-3878, timurf@ 


Boston CA 69, CAG 1 & SSN 703, Chicago, 
7/14-17, Art Herbert, (603) 672-8772, secretary@; Boyd DD 544, Seattle, 5/27-30, 
Charles St. John, (409) 656-5217, salorman41@; Brownson DD 868, Plymouth 
Meeting, PA, 5/19-23, Joseph El iff, (610) 948-6475,; Carpenter DD 
825, Warwick, Rl, 4/28-5/2, Joel Weinbaum, 
(256) 351-8552,; CHB 
6, Pocono Manor, PA, 8/26-28, M. McWeeney, 
(215) 393-1315,; 
Davidson DE/FF 1045 (All Crews), Charleston, 
SC, 8/4-6, Dan Kroeger, (440) 944-9498,; Donner LSD 20, Nashville, 
TN, 4/28-5/1, Dennis Heimbach, (610) 775-7539,; Gen. W.A.Mann, Mobile, 
AL, 4/28-30, Walter Baker, (850) 934-1671,; Goodrich DDR 831, Cherry 
Hill, NJ, 5/18-22, Dick Beyers, (805) 583-1274,; Gridley, Branson, 
MO, 5/15-19, Nolan Flachs, (417) 877-8959, pamb@; Jenkins DD 447/ 
DDE 447, Akron, OH, 5/18-22, William L. Curtis, 
(812) 345-9971,; Kalinin 
Bay (CVE 68) VC-3, Grapevine, TX, 6/2-6, Hank 
Sawicki, (706) 391-4847,; 
Knudson APD 101, Port Canaveral, FL, 5/20-23, 

Wayne Reynolds, (386) 789-8612, wjr502@; Lawrence Assn DDG 4 & DD 250, 
Jacksonville, FL, 6/21-26, Craig Bernat, (814) 
322-4150,; LSM/RS 
188-199, Savannah, GA, 4/14-17, Paul Ray, (423) 
282-8531,; Manatee AO 58, 
Phoenix, 5/5-7, James Osenton, (623) 772-8402,; Mullinnix DD 944, Albany, 
NY, 4/27-5/1, Bob Houghton, (302) 650-3042,; Nehenta Bay CVE 74 & 
Shamrock Bay CVE 84, Colorado Springs, CO, 
6/1 6-1 8, Stew Wasoba, (727) 397-4871; NMCB 62 
& PWD Edzell, Scotland, Hampton, VA, 2/24-27, 
Norm Hahn, (715) 834-4780, nhahnjr@sbcglobal. 
net; NMCB 128, Chicago, 8/18-21, John York, 
(630) 378-1052,; Repose 
Annex Long Beach Nav Hosp, Las Vegas, 2/22- 
24, Duane Van Hemert, (515) 564-9070, duvanh@; Richard L. Page DEG/FFG 5, St. Louis, 
5/19-22, Carl Slack, (603) 986-4661, pagedegffg5@; Robert H. McCard DD 822, Nashville, 
TN, 5/11-15, Ben Plante, (603) 622-0244, blplante@; Sam Rayburn SSBN 635, Reno, 
NV, 6/12-16, Darrell Rushing, (325) 468-2213,; Sample DE/FF 1048, 
Las Vegas, 6/2-5, Donald Moore, (702) 771-0606,; Silversides SSN 679, 
Muskegon, Ml, 7/29-31, Dave Burgwald, (612) 
866-2583,; Spinax SS/SSR 
489, Branson, MO, 8/29-9/2, Jerry Cartwright, 
(405) 692-5380,; 
Sterett DD 27/DD 407/DLG 31 /CG 31 /DDG 
104, Biloxi, MS, 5/20-22, Steve Hayes, shayes@; Trumpetfish SS 425, Branson, MO, 
8/23-29, Terry Trump, (843) 873-9563, ss425@; Wasp CV/CVA/CVS 18 Assn (1943- 
1972), Charleston, SC, 4/29-5/4, Richard VanOver, 
(716) 649-9053 


Post 36, ND: Steve C. Frojen 
Post 176, VA: Kenneth P. Hanson 


2nd Bn E Co 1303rd Eng (Mainz, Germany, 

1945), Norm Rasmusson, (419) 874-7115, 
3rd Sqdn 3rd Pit A Co 1st Bde 30th Inf 

(Schweinfurt, Germany, 1960-1962), 

David Coronado, (956) 466-1200, 
8th MP Co (Bad Kreuznach, Germany, 

1960-1964), Leroy Imler, (703) 670-5719, 
8th USAAF 3rd Bomb Div 13th Cbt Bomb Wing 

390th Bomb Grp, "Wittan's Wallopers/ 7 B-17 

Tail Code J, Jeff Keilen, (508) 384-091 6 
24th Eng C Co (Furth, Germany, 1961-1963), 

Lee Graham, (618) 259-6628, ggramz@ 




Less Than 
of Tanzanite 
Remain in 
This Special 

2 carats of 

Save near $700 

African Gem Cutter ^ 
Makes $2,689,000 Mistake... Will You? 

This story breaks my heart every time. Allegedly just two 
years after the discovery of tanzanite in 1967, a Maasai 
tribesman knocked on the door of a gem cutter's office in 
Nairobi. The Maasai had brought along an enormous chunk 
of tanzanite and he was looking to sell. His asking price? Fifty 
dollars. But the gem cutter was suspicious and assumed that a 
stone so large could only be glass. The cutter told the 
tribesman, no thanks, and sent him on his way. Huge mistake. 
It turns out that the gem was genuine and would have easily 
dwarfed the world's largest cut tanzanite at the time. Based on 
common pricing, that " chunk" could have been worth close 
to $3,000,000! 

The tanzanite gem cutter missed his chance to hit the 
jeweler's jackpot... and make history. Would you have made 
the same mistake then? Will you make it today? 
In the decades since its discovery, tanzanite has 
become one of the world's most coveted gemstones. 
Found in only one remote place on Earth (in Tanzania's 
Merelani Hills, in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro), the 
precious purple stone is 1,000 times rarer than diamonds. 
Luxury retailers have been quick to sound the alarm, warning 
that supplies of tanzanite will not last forever. And in this 
case, they're right. Once the last purple gem is pulled from 
the Earth, that's it. No more tanzanite. Most believe that we 
only have a few years supply left, which is why it's so amazing 
for us to offer this incredible price break. Some retailers along 
Fifth Avenue are more than happy to charge you outrageous 
prices for this rarity. Not Stauer. Staying true to our contrarian 
nature, we've decided to lower the price of one of the world's 
rarest and most popular gemstones. 

Our 2-Carat Sunburst Tanzanite Ring features marquise-cut 
gems set dramatically in gorgeous sterling silver. Each facet 
sparkles with the distinct violet-blue hue of the precious 
stones. Behind the shine you'll find that the exquisite 
silverwork of the setting calls to mind the detailed treasures 
being produced by Europe's finest jewelers. This is a ring 
designed to impress and it does not disappoint. 
Now is the point where opportunity knocks. If you open that 
door today, you can own this spectacular ring for less than 
$100. If you wait? We can't say for sure. 
Your satisfaction is completely guaranteed. For our 
client-friendly approach, Stauer has earned a rare A+ rating 
from the Better Business Bureau , a rating we wish to keep. 
So, of course, your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed. If you are 
not completely aglow with the Sunburst Tanzanite Ring, 
send it back within 30 days for a prompt and courteous refund. 
But, please don't wait, our supply is dropping rapidly. 


- 2 ctw genuine tanzanite - .925 sterling silver setting - Ring sizes 5-1 0 

Sunburst Genuine Tanzanite Ring (2 ctw)— £295" 
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Call now to take advantage of this limited offer. 


Promotional Code TZR281-02 

Please mention this code when you call. 



Stauer has a Better Business 
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Smart Luxuries — Surprising Prices 

38th Rgt Cbt Team 2nd Div (Camp Carson, 

CO, 1946-1947), DickTrainor, (719) 471-3910, 
68th Eng Co (Orleans, France & Neu-Ulm, 

Germany, 1966-1967), Jon King, (713) 553- 

101st Abn Div 101st Admin Co, Jim Cheskawich, 

(360) 225-8402 
1 78th Ord (Qui N hon, Vietnam, 1 965-1 966), Gary 

Matthews, (402) 658-0466, 
249th Eng Bn "Black Lion" (All Eras), 

Johnny McBee, (865) 687-7834, 

414 Co (Great Lakes, IL, 1965), Gary Helm, 
(812) 988-0175 

415 Co Boot Camp (Great Lakes, IL, 1948), 
Mike Schmitt, (217) 446-4625 

629th Ord Supply Parts (Qui Nhon, Vietnam, 
1965-1971), Gary Matthews, (712) 485-2422, 
813th Eng Avn Bn & 925th Eng Avn Grp 

(Elmendorf, AK, 1953-1955), Vernon Johnston, 

(425) 220-5070, 
3700/3701 Food Serv Sqdn (Lackland AFB, 

TX, 1963-1965), Gene Ludlow, (315) 649-2097, 
Boot Camp Co 59-566 (San Diego, 1959-1960), 

John Prax, 
C Co 1st Bn 47th Mech inf (Fort Wainwright, 

AK, 1967-1968), Larry Williams, (912) 684-3673, 
HQ & HQ Co 8353 Army Arctic Ctr (Big Delta/ 

FortGreely, AK, 1954-1 956), Tom Mlinar, (414) 

Pit 3072 (MCRD San Diego, 1972), Arnold Salazar, 

(361) 790-8778, 
Survivors of Bay of Pigs (1961), Eddie Shepherd, 

(904) 261-0236 


David G. Sanborn, Dept. of Maine. Nat l & 

Homeland Sec. Cncl. Vice Chmn. 1996-1998, 
Nat'l Veterans Preference Cmte. Memb. 1999- 
2000, and Nat'l Veterans Affairs & Rehab. Cmsn. 
Memb. 2000-2010. 

Joseph Steen, Dept. of Massachusetts. Dept. 
Cmdr. 1996-1997, Nat'l Distinguished Guests 
Cmte. Vice Chmn. 1990-1996, Nat'l Legis. 
Cncl. Memb. 1999-2000 and 2001-2010, Nat'l 
Americanism Cncl. Vice Chmn. 2000-2004, Nat'l 
Sgt-At-Arms 2006-2007, and Nat'l Constitution & 
By-Laws Cmte. Memb. 2004-2006 and 2007-2010. 

Terry Troutman, Dept. of Wisconsin. Dept. 
Cmdr. 2002-2003, Nat'l Foreign Relations Cncl. 
Vice Chmn. 1999-2006, and Nat'l Exec. Cmte. 
Alt. Memb. 2004-2006. 



by Hoover's Mfg., Co. 

P.O. Box 547AL, Peru, IL 61354 
Fax: 1-815-223-1499 



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prices now is the time to lock in your price 
for the 1 oz. pure 2011 American Silver 
Eagle Coin. Due to the fluctuation in silver 
price, please call our precious metals 
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Minimum order 5 coins. Coins available 
for delivery mid January 20 1 1 . 


a subsidiary of Eastern Numismatics 
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• Mind control techniques and Special 

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"About 20 years, sir." 

"Twenty years, and he goes and strikes a match 
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"It was, sir." 

DRINK TEA and nourish life. 
With the first sip, joy. 
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With the third sip, peace. 
With the fourth sip, a danish. 

THE LOCAL WEATHERMAN was wrong so often 
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Finally, in despair of ever living down his reputa- 
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"Why do you want a transfer?" his boss asked. 

"Well," the weatherman replied, "the climate 
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What more could I want in a riding mower?" 

"Well, if I was speeding, Officer, so were you." 


v V 

"Shriever, it's time to rise and shine. 
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SIGN AT A CREMATORIUM: "Urn more. Pay less." 

IN AN ENGLISH TOWN, a company of amateur 
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